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Have you ever wondered why we say “Doctors PRACTICE medicine”? Don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is for my physician to PRACTICE on my body. I’d rather my specialist PERFECT his or her skills before my life is in their hands.  But thanks to so many remarkable advancements in healthcare technology has enabled, I think PERFECT is almost here.

Fact is techniques and concepts that were once deemed science fiction are becoming, if not already, real. Doesn’t The Six Million Dollar Man exist now? If he does, I’m sure his price tag went up another digit.

TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING EVERY FACET OF HEALTHCARE

It’s changing how and what healthcare professionals learn.

The onslaught of so many medical discoveries and findings has made it literally impossible for students and even the best practitioners of medicine to learn or even keep up with all there is to know. Now it’s not so important how much they know, but how competent they are.

If a student attempted to keep up with the literature by reading 2 articles per day, in 1 year this conscientious individual would be more than 800 years behind. 1

TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW THEY LEARN.

Serious Gaming. Video Games aren’t just for fun anymore.

Facile surgeons didn’t hone their skills thumb wrestling. Nope, they learned on the job on actual patients. Hundreds of them. But now, more and more doctors and practitioners are refining their skills, and improve their eye-hand coordination and reflex times on virtual cases in the same mega-stimulating environments gamers crave in games like Mortal Combat and Fortnite. How could you not love this serious gaming idea? Better they practice in virtual reality than on me!

Serious games also teach communication skills. ElderQuest is one of the popular and extremely effective role-playing games where med students can measurably increase their “understanding” of senior patients’ unique needs which is so important in geriatric care. Click here, to give it a go yourself.

Simulation as real as it gets.

No one gets hurt in a simulated setting. Thanks to AR and VR (augmented and virtual reality)  surgical simulators, truly sophisticated 3-D modeling and Hi-Fidelity patient simulation, students, interns, doctors, nurses, and entire surgical teams can practice and rehearse in settings just like the real thing.

What more, these environments now provide haptic feedback settings, where every move and decision can be measured, evaluated and then improved upon. Kid you not, these virtual reality settings let users experience what it’s like to wield a scalpel, prod a spine, botch a procedure and more. It’s the most sophisticated version of “Operation” (my favorite childhood game) I’ve ever seen.

Lucky for the world, these exciting learning methods continue to advance and become more accessible every day. The demand for healthcare workers has never been greater, with over 1.26 million healthcare job openings per year just in the U.S.

 

TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING THE WAY THEY PRACTICE

Care through the eyes of Google Glasses.

Google Glasses may not have taken off in the consumer market back, but Google Glass, as well as other wearable devices, are serious business in the medical field, as it provides a “new layer of technology that makes education more realistic and potentially more effective.”

How do they work? Imagine a doctor wearing a hands-free, voice-controlled, wearable computer with an integrated camera and a heads-up display that lets him see everything in front of him, as well as access, view and hear everything she would want to know about the procedure in real time. Not only can the doctor record the procedure, but she can also display and combine computer-generated images such as MRI and CT scans to see our bones, muscles and internal organs under the skin without cutting us open.

Now, imagine a medic or EMT in the field wearing equipped with this technology and complete access to all he needs to know exactly what to do. The applications are endless.

What I’ve mentioned are only a fraction of the astounding ways technology is turning the world of healthcare on its ear. We may actually PERFECT the way we practice medicine in the not-so-distant future. But why is it that I still have to arrive at my appointments 30 minutes early to fill out stacks of redundant paperwork. Heck, I can’t remember all my past procedures, much less the dates or even years that I had them. Who on earth can cite the five-syllable names and dosages of their prescriptions?  Never have, and never will.

  1. Barnett OG. Information technology and medical education. J Am Med Informatics Assoc. 1995;2:285–291.