Saturday, July 19, 2014

What technology hath wrought....

Last quarter, I received an excellent paper on the risks around robotic surgery.   This morning, I opened my TED summary to find a TED talk about a new and improved trochar, designed by an engineer.  And when I opened the   the Financial Times later this morning, I found "Wear Your Medicine," on new digital tools for those with medical conditions.

We view much of what medicine has to offer with increased trepidation over cost, over whether or not a procedure or medicine is actually necessary, and with suspicion that is a result of having seen too many revisions on instructions on what is or is not good for your health.  As technology has more of an impact on the medical profession and on healthcare in general, costs appear to be rising, not decreasing.

The most egregious example of course is the layers of bureaucracy and incompetence among schedulers for the Veterans Administration.  It's not just that it's difficult to get an appointment.  The computer platforms are  outdated and interconnections with other relevant databases -- like military medical record history -- seem to be painfully slow or non-existent.  Both the military and the Veterans Administration have the same challenges as private hospitals in bringing what were formerly paper records online.

The moral of this reflection is that what technology hath wrought is often peril rather than streamlined ease of use, whether it's in large databases, surgical suites, Google Glass, or even smart contact lenses for diabetics.

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