Dependency Upon Machines

One concern among the impacts of medical technology upon doctors and/or the medical team is that medical technology enlarges the physician’s knowledge of disease, but it also creates a dependence upon machines and laboratory experts. This creates the risk of making medical judgments based solely on technical data without allowing for the possibility of error or considering the patient’s views. Doctors who have an overdependence on chemical laboratory tests or x-rays for diagnostic purposes without regard to their relevance may actually be putting the patient at greater risk. The emphasis on what diagnosis the technology provides rather than what the patients says or the physician’s professional judgment results in potential division between doctor and patient. The overall consequence is that the physician spends less time with patients, but requires greater amounts of data for an accurate diagnosis at higher cost. Nonetheless, concerns in the medical community regarding the risks of over-reliance on medical technology have not changed the practice of depending on it.

Precision in medical diagnosis hinges on three characteristics: the consistency or stability of the phenomena (disease or illness) being measured, the intrinsic accuracy of the measure or test used (also known as repeatability), and the ability of the observer (physician or technician) to accurately record and interpret the data (known as reproducibility). Medical technology has improved the repeatability of the measures used to diagnose and treat illness. However, new diseases and illness continue to wage war successfully against humankind (e.g., acquired immune deficiency (AIDS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, cancer, flu, and the common cold). Their persistence indicates the powerlessness of the use of medical technology to address unpredictable or unstable ailments. The use of medical technology has improved the accuracy (reproducibility) of medical diagnosis, but it has not eliminated human error as evidenced by the continuing and sometimes tragic medical mistakes. Technology will always be grounded in the people who use it and the medical systems in which it is applied.

Advancements of Medical Technology in the Medical Setting

Different advancements in medical technology can be observed and used in the medical setting nowadays. One of them include advancements in Information Technology and telecommunications, such as through the use of the Internet, digital TV, Personal Digital Assistants (small portable computers), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) phones that provide Internet access for healthcare practitioners, and telemedicine for medical consultations that can be carried out remotely through technology. In terms of molecular biology, advancements in medical technology include genetic screening, and through human embryonic stem cell applications. Another advancement in medical technology that can be used in the medical setting is tissue engineering that may involve implantation or transplantation of artificial body parts, including skin and other internal organs of the body. Advancement also includes minimal invasive surgery through radiosurgery and robotic surgery, which would involve minimal support of medical practitioners during operations, and the use of entirely robots for surgery (2005). In this regard, the advancements of medical technology that can be used in the medical field pertain to the different application of science and technology in the medical setting, such as through robotics and the use of radiation. As such, advancements in science and technology provides the medical field with new and innovative strategies that would further offer faster, effective, and efficient medical process, which would significantly contribute to the appropriate and effective treatment and deliver of patient care.