Healthcare and Technology


The healthcare industry struggles to integrate new technologies into patient care and practice for a number of reasons, most of them involving time constraints and lack of expertise. Often unmentioned however are other causes, namely technological outmoding and data volume. The amount of data and information doctors possess and disseminate is staggering, making codifying and standardizing data storage practices overwhelming. Doctors don’t have the time for their staff to provide healthcare support roles as well as to be manually processing the entirety of the data, neither do they have the budget to hire staff to do the aforementioned tasks. But the modern world demands digitalization, and rapid adaptation to it.

What the digital world doesn’t provide for are parachute plans, safety nets if you will, for when technology moves on from its current state. This is called outmoding—when old technology is no longer supported via parts or usability. Old laptops stop connecting to the internet, old operating systems stop being able to run programs, old technologies (for example, think pagers) become useless in comparison to newer advancements and products. It’s costly to keep up, and the practice itself is structured to be exploitive—there’s a reason there’s a new iPhone every year, and we all know what it is.

However, not all engagement with technology is cumbersome for healthcare. Improvements in robotics have revolutionized surgery and prosthetics. It has increased patient access to treatment via telehealth. In addition, it has also improved collaborative capabilities between practitioners and communication capacity with patients1. The greater interactive capabilities with patients have led to creative new types of measurables, like toilet seats that measure glucose levels or watches that track stomach pH levels2. All of these technological threads have been complicated additionally by the pandemic. Forbes details these adjustments and changes in an expose3, noting that changes in management of patient care, supply chains, staffing, equipment, and inventory occurred as a result of COVID. This puts more pressures on healthcare to adopt new technologies faster, something not every practice is equipped to do.


Written by Jeremiah Ockunzzi, courtesy of Dr. Bart Rademaker, MD.






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