Custom «Healthcare Informatics Research and Innovation» Sample Essay
Table of Contents
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- Human Head Transplant as an Emerging Healthcare Technology
- Goals and Data to Support the Technology
- Impact on the Nursing Practice
- Contribution to QSEN and the Healthcare Education Setting
- Handling the Negative Implication of the Technology
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Numerous technological innovations have been advanced in the healthcare sector in the recent past. These technologies have significantly transformed and added value to the healthcare services. Innovative technologies and products in the healthcare industry have made the treatment process more convenient, hence improving the quality of the services offered by medical practitioners. They have also contributed to reduced cost and time spent by practitioners to study the available health records. Healthcare innovations have also enhanced a high level of connection between healthcare providers and patients through the Internet networks. Every day a new solution is introduced in the healthcare market. Some of the numerous technological developments that have been recently evidenced in the healthcare sector include human head transplant, robotic-aided treatment, robotic surgeries, anti-aging drugs, electronic aspirin, and tooth regeneration (Referral MD, 2017). New technologies also enable sharing of medical information between healthcare providers, thus making it increasingly easier to monitor the progress of patients at different levels. Emerging healthcare technologies have the capability of improving the quality of healthcare services. However, they may not translate into desirable health outcomes. Therefore, nurses need to go beyond the mastery of the QSEN and be creative enough to think outside the box. They have to embrace and incorporate a high-level thinking into the provision of safe and high-quality healthcare deliverables. The primary challenge in the health informatics innovations, therefore, is that the nurses are slow in embracing changes. Although the emerging healthcare technologies, such as the human head transplant, contribute to the QSEN initiative and cater for the needs of the patients, they may have some negative implications such as threats to security and confidentiality of information for the stakeholders.
Human Head Transplant as an Emerging Healthcare Technology
Similar to any other field, the healthcare sector has recently undergone significant changes. There has been a tremendous improvement not only in the quality of services being offered but also in the mode and the technology system that are being used to deliver these services. Innovations in the healthcare informatics have impacted the educational system of nurses and the QSEN initiative in general. Though numerous emerging technologies have been evidenced in the recent past, for this paper, the focus is narrowed down to the human head transplant as the most exciting recently introduced technology in the healthcare sector.
The lead Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero is targeting to perform the first-ever human head transplant this year (Canavero, 2013). The animal head transplant is the only successful operation that has been performed so far. The main challenge in the transplantation of the head has been to connect the spinal cord (Canavero, 2013). Canavero has, therefore, focused his research on this issue and has made some developments, which he hopes to put into practice (Canavero, 2013). Thus, the surgeon intends to make use of a unique blade and polyethylene glycol, which has been used in the medical industry as well as in cosmetology (Referral MD, 2017). He argues that the polymer will help to facilitate growth in the spinal cord nerves.
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There are some serious issues of concern in conducting the human head transplant. Thus, the procedure relies on a total transfer of the head from the body of the donor to the recipient. It, therefore, means that the process calls for the complete cutting of the neck to detach the head from the donor and reattach it to the body of the beneficiary (Referral MD, 2017). Similar to any organ transplant, three main challenges may arise in the process, particularly, managing the immune system response, dependency of the brain on a high flow of blood, and finally, management of the nervous system (Referral MD, 2017). Whereas the first two issues have already been addressed successfully, the last one has been the focus of the research on this technology. Therefore, managing the nervous system is critical to making a successful head transplant.
During the transplant process, once the head has been removed from the donor's body, bio-compatible glue is used to fix and hold the head with the spinal cord for fusion with the donor's body. After affixing the head, the recipient is put in a drug-induced comma for about a month to enable the healing of the connections (Referral MD, 2017). The reattachment and healing has been the critical part of the whole transplant process (Canavero, 2013). Even though most of the attempted transplants have failed at this stage and a successful operation of this kind has never been conducted, surgeons in this field are very optimistic about the results of the first head transplant.
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According to Canavero, the technology needed for the process is already in place. The transplantation process is expected to engage the services of about 150 medical practitioners and last for 36 hours (Canavero, 2013). The estimated confidence level is about 90% chance of survival (Canavero, 2013). Although many scientists consider such survival probability as fictional, Canavero is so optimistic that he has an intention to perform the first operation by the end of the year. Besides, many people around the globe are eagerly waiting for this first-ever attempt to transplant human head. Furthermore, a Russian man suffering from a degenerative muscle disorder has already agreed to be the first person who will undergo the human head transplant (Referral MD, 2017). If the operation is successful, the results of the process are expected to be extremely extensive. Therefore, many people are looking forward to taking advantage of the technology.
Goals and Data to Support the Technology
The lead surgeon Canavero says that the aim of the technology is to bring life and death apart. In other words, the procedure is aimed at creating a death scenario and then brining in a life scenario (Canavero, 2013). The life scenario is initiated when the head of the donor is mounted and affixed to the neck of the receiver, whose head has been cut to create a death scenario. The surgeon’s goal is to perform what he calls Head Anastomosis Venture (HEAVEN) (Canavero, 2013). The technology's broader goal is, therefore, to extend life.
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The surgeon has collected data to support this outstanding technology which many scientists criticize. Thus, since 1970, several experiments on head transplantation have been conducted on rats, mice, and dogs (Canavero, 2013). Some of the animals participating in these experiments managed to survive for from two hours to eight days, which Canavero considers as a great achievement. The data gained from the experimental projects make the surgeon confident that he can conduct the human head transplant, which he hopes to be a success.
Impact on the Nursing Practice
The process of human head transplantation neglects the method that will be used for obtaining an informed consent for the procedure, especially from the person whose body will be used. It is also unclear whether the donor is capable of fulfilling the medical needs of the recipient (Referral MD, 2017). Besides, concerns have been raised about the use of other organs from the body of the donor because they can save the lives of many people. Therefore, the main adverse implication of the practice is ethical concerns that may arise in the nursing practice. The question is whether the whole process will be ethical or not. The issue of ethics and moral implication extend to legal issues relating to the two people involved in the operation. Therefore, there is still much to be done regarding ethical, moral and legal implications of the human head transplant.
Contribution to QSEN and the Healthcare Education Setting
Human head transplantation technology has contributed to the QSEN initiative, which has been developed to address the quality and safety of the healthcare system in which the nurses work. The technology focuses on the challenges of preparing nurses who are competitive and possess the right medical skills (Nelson & Staggers, 2014). Human head transplant has led to the discovery of solutions that are associated with organ transplantation, thus bringing in quality and the relevant skills. Organ transplant has been presenting three main challenges, which the new technology managed to face, as it was stated above.
The QSEN initiative is a multifaceted framework that is geared towards preparing nurses and medical practitioners who have the right skills and qualifications. Similarly, the human head transplant has also been a multiple-stage process which involved extensive research. The research done on the field has improved the skills, knowledge and attitude of medical practitioners. Secondly, several phases in the QSEN are guided by patient-oriented care, teamwork, evidenced-based drill, quality, safety improvement, and informatics principles (Nelson & Staggers, 2014). The same principles have guided the human head transplant technology, which applies a patient-oriented approach. It focuses on helping the patient who has been yearning for a medical solution.
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Involving about 150 professionals, human head transplant is a teamwork-oriented process bringing professionals with different skills together to help improve the quality and safety of the services offered to the patients. When all these nurses with the right medical skills and knowledge in the field work as one team, they can provide efficient patient-oriented care and continue improving the quality of the services that they offer. Finally, the human head transplant has helped to increase safety, broaden knowledge and skills, and improve attitude to the professionals involved.
Human head transplant technology requires practitioners to be well-prepared and equipped with the right technology. It involves making use of skills, knowledge and encouraging the professionals to have the right attitude towards the process (Nelson & Staggers, 2014). It also involves the use of innovative tools and technologies during operations. Therefore, there is a need to introduce changes in the education setting for nurses and other medical practitioners.
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The human head transplant as a technology has been able to incorporate clinical expertise with the current evidence and take into consideration the preferences of the patients. The technology makes use of research and innovations in the healthcare to offer the best strategy to conduct transplantation based on evidence (Nelson & Staggers, 2014). Canavero has made several attempts in his research using animals, with the recent one being a transplant on a monkey (Referral MD, 2017). He has been able to collaborate with other scholars and practitioners in the medical field to conduct a detailed research on the process and adopt solutions to the main challenging issues within the process.
Handling the Negative Implication of the Technology
The human head transplant technology does not pay much attention to the ethical aspect of the process; hence, there is a high possibility of infringing on the rights of persons involved in the human head transplantation. It has overlooked the ethical and moral implication and focused only on the medical and technological side of the process. More emphasis has been put on the time when Canavero expects to finalize his research and perform the first human head transplant without considering the risks associated with the experiment (Referral MD, 2017). As a result, the process needs further research and collaboration with professionals from other fields such as phycologists. Such partnership will facilitate consultative forums which will ensure that the moral and ethical side of the process is well considered. Otherwise, the whole process will continue to receive criticism as evidenced earlier when Canavero announced his intention to perform the first human head transplant.
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There have been some exciting discoveries and development of new technologies in the healthcare sector in the recent years. Human head transplantation is one of such emerging breakthrough technologies. The human head transplant technology has significantly impacted the QSEN initiative which aims to enhance relevant knowledge, skills, and attitude to nurses and other medical practitioners. This technology has resulted in the improvement of the quality of service that nurses offer as well as enhancement of the safety of the environment in which they operate. However, human head transplant also has some negative implications; particularly, it has ignored the moral and ethical implications of the process and instead focused on the technological achievements in the healthcare sector. Therefore, there is a need to incorporate this aspect, which will help to minimize criticism about the human head transplant. Though the technology has never been accomplished on a human, several successful head transplantations have been done on animals, with some animals being able to survive for eight days after operation. Therefore, the lead surgeon Canavero is so optimistic that he will successfully perform the first ever human head transplantation.
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