Technology: Advancing the science of medicine

By Brooke Strickland

Technology is continually changing. It has integrated itself into the day we live daily life and for many doctors, technology has changed the way they practice medicine. In fact, with the development of certain iPhone or iPad apps, medicine itself is becoming redefined. Imagine a resident doing his rounds and visits a patient that is showing symptoms of low sodium. He is unsure what the proper dosage of saline she should receive and to find the answer, he pulls out his iPhone, clicks on the MedCalc app, and instantly, he has the correct dosage information to give her. It only took a few seconds to get what he needed.

Technology today has given new doctors entering the field a new way to interact with their patients and fellow doctors, as well as new ways to get the important medical information they need to effectively treat patients. This new era of technology has ushered in a new wave of technology-savvy doctors that is more apt to get the information they need quickly, thus giving them the opportunity to diagnose and treat patient’s health issues.

With the advancement of technology, it’s important to remember to use this as a second resource, and not as the only way to practice medicine. Looking at the patient, providing a full evaluation, and sitting down and really listening to what they need is the best and most traditional way to go about helping patients. Technology should be a secondary resource, one that will enhance your training and instincts in medicine, to work as a “second brain”, so to say. And while it’s easy to let your iPad or iPhone do all the thinking for you, remember your patients aren’t coming to seek help from a computer. They’re coming for help to you – a human, trained and specialized in medicine – and taking the time to sit down and truly listen to what they’re struggling with is the best way to keep patients coming back.