For many years, doctors had to undergo strenuous processes which are lengthy, costly and arduous. Diseases are diagnosed through try and error which sometimes results into unnecessary deaths of patients. However, in the recent past, the field of medicine has had tremendous changes and developments. These developments have been made possible through the adoption of technology in medical procedures, a process known as medical technology.
Fullick defines medical technology as the use of a wide range of technological tools, techniques and procedures in provision of healthcare products (2011). Sneddon further illustrates that medical technology implies use of technology in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases (2007). The use of these modern technologies has helped improve the quality of healthcare products. Moreover, it has helped in reducing th severity or side effects associated with medications and treatments. Spekowius and Vendler put forward that medical technology has today focused on reducing cost of medical services (2011). The use of medical technology has also helped in reducing pain and unintended injuries that may result from treatments.
Medical technology ranges from use of simple tools or techniques such as condoms in prevention of sexually transmitted infections or wheelchairs to ease movement of handicapped people to use of highly advanced machines such as surgical robots and life-support machines. Medical technology has been intensively used in computer aided diagnosis, replacement of body organs, gene therapy and synthesis of personalized drugs.
History of Medical Technology
The history of medical technology dates to 1816 when the first stethoscope was invented. This was then followed by a successful blood transfusion in 1819. In late 1880, the first cholera vaccine was invented. Medical historian Broksky puts forward that the first dialysis machine was introduce in the medical field in 1942 (2010). Furthermore, use of technology in medicine facilitated successful surgery of the eye in 1975. The first transplanted of a human heart was also performed in 1969 (Duffin, 2010). All these activities were facilitated by adoption of technology in medicine.
Future of Medical Technology
In my opinion, the continued use of technology, especially computers in medical procedures will greatly impact the healthcare industry. For instance, computers have enabled efficient storage of medical information. Medical data is today stored electronically in form of databases and thus can be easily accessed whenever they are required. The computer systems are able to store huge amounts of data and information about the health history of an individual. This has greatly facilitated diagnosis of recurrent illnesses. Future computer systems that shall be used in healthcare facilities will undoubtedly overcome the challenges and inefficiencies of the current systems if appropriate technologies are adopted by healthcare service providers.
According to Eaton and Kennedy, adoption of modern technologies in medicine will result into more accurate, reliable and rapid diagnosis of illnesses. It will also open up the medical field for more researches, for example bioengineering techniques (2007). Use of technology such as internet facilities will enable diagnosis and treatment of patients from their homes or places of convenience. There shall also be increased effectiveness and efficiency in monitoring, evaluation and supervision of treatments offered to patients.
However, great care should be taken when using technology in medicine, for example, information about patients stored in computer systems should be protected from hackers and unauthorized individual. This will help in ensuring privacy and confidentiality of patients. Furthermore, systems such as knowledge work systems or experts systems used in healthcare services should not be rendered sole power to control the whole diagnosis and treatment processes. Such systems can only be used to assist doctors in making decisions. Hill and Summers articulate that the development and adoption of information and communication technology in healthcare industry has facilitated efficient management of healthcare services provided (2008). For instance, computer networks has eased exchange of medical information, ideas and innovations, and thus improved quality of medical services. Helman asserts that in the near future, diagnosis of diseases will not be based on the symptoms only but also on detection of microbiological processes that prompt diseases (2010).
In conclusion, the interaction between technology and medicine has greatly help increase the quality of healthcare services, disease prevention and treatment. Medical technology has enabled treatment of world’s deadly diseases such as cancer through radiation and X-Rays. The cost of treating diseases has also dropped drastically.