Medical technology describes the wide variety of tools available to diagnose, treat, or manage health. This includes equipment, surgical/medical procedures, electronic records, and even medical related software. Many of these technological advances in medicine have actually resulted in an improved quality of life and also helped to lengthen life. However, despite all of the positives, there are still a few negatives for patients that are caused by medical technology. However, knowing these risks can help you to become more knowledgeable in your own health and well-being.
Minimized/Impersonal Health Care
Of course, while technology is beneficial, it is only as good as the person who has programmed it and the medical professional that is using it. In some cases, health care providers lean too heavily on this technology and don’t spend enough time getting to know their patients as individuals. Instead, they spend their time interacting with the equipment. Because of this, they could end up missing a symptom that may not necessarily fall into the “black and white” areas of the electronic medical records. It may be an underlying symptom that could indicate that something else is wrong in addition to the primary diagnosis, or perhaps could indicate an entirely different diagnosis altogether.
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While it’s true that many technological advancements have been life-saving, many of them have risks for the patients. For example, things like radiation or chemotherapy can be very beneficial for cancer patients. However, it can also have some very negative effects. Of course this is true even of the simple medical procedures, such as aspirin when it’s inappropriately used. Still, when it comes to technology, you should always weigh the risk versus the rewards.
Advances in medical technology can also lead to much higher patient costs due to the amount of research and the money needed for marketing to bring it to the public, as well as to profit the one who created and manufactured it. As technology moves forward, the cost typically goes up, especially due to the fact that it offers a solution that may not have been available previously. While it’s a blessing that these are available for conditions that may not have been treatable before, the technological advances will lead to additional and long-term costs.
Invasion of Privacy
With new technology, patient records are kept electronically through Electronic Medical Records, or EMR, stores. With EMR patient information is managed and shared both with the patient as well as with other health care professionals. The medical history that is shared can include results of testing, any medications you’re on, your billing information and so much more. While this is truly convenient, it also offers the possibility for misuse, which can result in a loss of personal data as well as privacy.
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