Is the Medical Sector due its 21 st Century Check-up?-The Role of Technology in the Future of Medical Care

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Quinlan, Anna
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BA of Business
Dublin Business School
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The medical sector in Ireland looks set to undergo much change over the next few years. Information Technology has assisted and helped this sector grow at a very fast pace over the last number of years. But this growth has focused on the individual professionals within the medical sector and not the medical sector as a whole. This looks very likely to change over the next year or two as the government becomes anxious to reduce costs and increase competition within this area in order to allow people to receive the best service possible. The aim of this dissertation is to look at the current service provided to us as individuals and to observe what looks likely to be the way forward for the medical profession in Ireland. The medical profession is not about IT. It's about offering a valued service to the public. It is necessary to remember that IT does not set out to redesign the core competencies of this area but merely looks at assisting in improving the service provided by these professionals. Secondary research was a qualitative research, which looked at what is currently happening in this market. It established that individuals within the medical sector certainly need to be looking forward and moving towards processes that add value to the service they currently provide. This sector is like any other business, a service is provided and it is hoped that this service will produce a profit. Information Technology is changing the way business is conducted. This is a fact. The government wants more control over expenditure within the economy and the public also want a medical service which exceeds their expectations. The only way forward is for medical information to be easily accessible and shared among the professionals in this area. This dissertation focuses on how this can be accomplished through the use of IT. It looks at the barriers and the issues that lie ahead if this goal is ever to be achieved. Primary research was conducted by questionnaires, telephone interviews, one to one meetings and corresponding with individuals via email IT was used in order to establish how much knowledge the individuals have with regards to future change and to ascertain the level of commitment these individuals have in bringing about this change. The area of IT and information "sharing" is a very new and sensitive topic. It therefore took a lot of effort and persistence to gather the necessary information which was going to allow me to investigate this area thoroughly. I must note that Systems Solutions, who are currently involved in piloting ETP (Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions), proved to be a vital source of information. They allowed me access to sensitive information, which in turn helped me to fully understand this area. As this topic is very new, I relied greatly on Systems Solutions for information. There is little information in books, journals or even on the Internet relating to this topic.