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How Are Computers Used in Health Care?

By Neal Litherland ; Updated October 25, 2017

As technology has advanced medicine, computers have become a bigger and bigger part of the health care field. Whether it's databases used to keep patient files, or computers being used to help doctor's interface with more advanced scanning equipment, the importance of computer technology is steadily increasing.


One of the most obvious ways that computers are used in health care is to keep records. Whether those records are patient files (complete with digital scans and X-rays), or records of payment and debt, computer databases provide an easy, low-space storage option for keeping a huge amount of information accessible to the staff members who need it.


Passive monitors, such as those used on EKG machines and other technologically advanced scanners, function off of a computer. The internal computers in the monitors will interpret all of the data being collected (the small surges of electric pulses that are the language of a computer) and then display it in a meaningful way.

Minimally Invasive Tools

Computers are used with a great deal of minimally invasive surgeries. These surgeries cut a small incision, and then place a small surgical tool with an attached camera inside the patient's body. This makes it less likely that a patient will suffer complications from a larger surgical wound, and it helps minimize damage done to the body. Most of these minimally invasive tools use computers to drive the tools, and to relay images from inside the patient's body out to the doctors.


Running tests on tissues and fluids is a basic part of any medical laboratory. However there are automated machines that are attached to computers that will run simple tests that don't require anything more than the completion of simple tasks. Centrifuges and other machines may therefore be run by computers that are programmed for their tasks by lab technicians.


Computer use is so common in the health care field (with some hospitals having a computer in literally every room) that sometimes special cleaning care has to be taken. Computer keyboards especially may transmit bacteria and disease, which can be deadly if the computer is in an operating room. Therefore it becomes very important that computer keyboards are frequently sanitized and kept clean so that there is as little risk as possible.

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