In the United States, electronic communication is legally defined as the transfer of signs, images, sound, signals, intelligence, writing, or data of any type in whole or partly using radio, wire, photo-optical, electromagnetic, or photoelectronic systems (Department of Justice, 2016). In business, electronic communication has been found to be effective for different purposes depending on the needs of the business. However, for electronic communication to be useful to a business, it has to be the right type of communication method implying has to be used at the appropriate time to send the appropriate information (Swicktech, 2016). Communication is required for the organization to make a decision, coordinate its activities, control, and plan. Electronic methods of communication make all the mentioned activities possible by providing an avenue for data, sound, and images to be sent as appropriate.
Traditional methods of communication are insufficient to meet the needs of modern business communication. In this respect, electronic communication facilitates the multifaceted needs of business organizations (Swicktech, 2016). Subsequently, advances in technology coupled with the needs of businesses have encouraged the evolution of traditional communication and the emergence of electronic communication. Electronic transmission of data has facilitated a global communication environment that has enabled business organizations to carry out their functions more effectively. Swedish Medical Center in Colorado has successfully integrated electronic communication into its operations. The use of electronic communication at the Swedish Medical Center has its associated merits and drawbacks.
Advantages of Electronic Communication
Speed of Transmission as One of the Advantages of Electronic Communication
One of the advantages of electronic transmission is the speed of transmission associated with the methods. For instance, email, instant messaging, text messaging, voice calls, social media, and video calls are quick in delivery (Khan, 2013). Unlike traditional methods of technology that relied heavily on the distance between the sender and the recipient, electronic communication takes only a few seconds to deliver messages. At Swedish Medical Center, staff can communicate quickly and effectively using various means of communication depending on the urgency, context, or contents of the message. In addition, electronic communication allows the staff to communicate with patients within and outside their premises for collaboration towards better health outcomes. Electronic communication is also attributed to wide coverage. Electronic communication has reduced the world into a global village due to the ability to send messages to recipients in remote areas of the globe quickly. The hospital can gather information from around the world regarding new developments in medical practice and also keep in touch with its clients irrespective of distance.
Electronic Communication as Cost-Effective Means of Communication
Electronic communication has emerged as a cost-effective means of communication. Messages can be sent quickly and at low costs ensuring the organization gains value for its investment in communications equipment. At the Swedish Medical Center, staff can get alerts through texts, voicemails, and emails. Messages can also be sent cheaply and in bulk. Information can be posted on messaging boards online and links sent to individual staff members ensuring all recipients intended to get the message at their convenience.
Electronic Communication as a Feedback Tool
Electronic communication makes it possible to provide feedback to the sender of the message and allows for discussion between the parties communicating (Khan, 2013). Text messaging, video calls, emails, and voice calls can be instantly replied to providing an avenue for a fast communication sequence. Lastly, electronic communication has enabled Swedish Medical Center to expand its operations beyond its locality. The hospital can advertise to potential clients and gather feedback from them using their website and telephone hotlines. It can also communicate with suppliers, investors, and donors all over the world cost-effectively. Video teleconferencing and emails allow managers to coordinate, plan and make decisions regardless of their location around the world and at affordable costs compared to alternatives.
Disadvantages of Electronic Communication
Limitations of Electronic Communication
Electronic communication is not without its limitations. The features of electronic communication have associated social, physical, and economic concerns. To begin with, there are huge volumes of data generated in the present day and it is getting increasingly difficult for organizations to absorb and make sense of the data. The Swedish Medical Center is bombarded by tons of information from electronic communication sources and there is a need for the organization to capture the information and make use of it effectively within the relevant time limit to avoid obsoleting the data.
Electronic Communication and Cost of Development
Electronic communication is also associated with the cost of development. Acquiring infrastructure for electronic communication requires a substantial investment for both initial acquisition and maintenance (Swicktech, 2016). The Swedish Medical Center has made a substantial investment in its electronic communication infrastructure and faces the challenge of change from evolving technology. Frequent changes in technology require additional investment. Subsequently, Swedish Medical Center has to make additional investments to make sure its equipment is up to date.
Legal Issues Concerning Electronic Communication
Some challenges also arise in the context of the legal status of electronic communication (Swicktech, 2016). In some instances, the law may require evidence or documentation. If the evidence, information, data, or documentation exists in electronic form and has been tampered with, it becomes invalid and has no value to the law. Another challenge with electronic communication is the system may encounter errors that delay the sending of data. Delivery of data may inconvenience the communicating parties. By extension, the required service will be delayed. In addition, security concerns have also emerged with electronic communication. Systems can be hacked by individuals or groups with malicious intent. Lastly, changes in technology and associated costs put organizations that are unable to keep up at a disadvantage. Organizations that cannot afford new or advanced technology have to rely on others to share networks or resources leading to the problem of dependency and privacy concerns related to sharing confidential information.
Overcoming Challenges of Electronic Communication
Challenges associated with electronic communication can be overcome by investing in the most suitable forms of electronic communication. This can be done by identifying the needs of the business and aligning them with the available technology. In addition, it is important to have backups in case the selected mode of communication fails. Challenges can also be overcome by integrating security measures in an electronic communication such as secure lines, passwords, and firewalls where applicable. Lastly, staff needs to be trained on the most effective ways utilizing available channels of electronic communication.
Department of Justice. 2016. 1045. Definition"Electronic Communication" | USAM | Department of Justice. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-1045-definition-electronic-communication
Khan, M. 2013, October 7. Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Communication | MEAM Marketing. Retrieved from http://www.meammarketing.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-electronic-communication/
Swicktech. 2016. Importance of Electronic Communication in Business. Retrieved from http://www.swicktech.com/SWICKtech/Resources/Blog/Importance-of-Electronic-Communication-in-Business.htm
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