The world we live in today is filled with all kinds of technologies that are designed specially to help make our lives better, easier, and more comfortable. The technological progress that has been rapidly developing ever since the era of industrialization has affected people’s lives immensely. Several decades ago, people had no idea about the devices we are using today on a regular basis. The technologies are a huge part of our being these days; we feel strange and insecure, leaving homes without our favorite and most useful devices such as portable computers, tablets, players, and cell phones. We are so attached to these little objects, and to the functions, they carry that we cannot even imagine spending a day without them. It is hard to argue with the fact that our addiction to all of these technologies is based on very important reasons.
First of all, our jobs and incomes directly depend on electronics today, our connection with close people, beloved partners and work colleagues are provided by the technologies every day, our daily schedules and plans are organized in our devices. Besides, the technologies are our main source of information today. Every aspect of our being is penetrated by the technological progress, which has altered our ways of communication, the structure of our financial operations, the kinds, and quality of our jobs, the speed of our lives and our way of thinking. Having affected all of these sides of people’s lives, the technologies, of course, made their way to the most important aspect of our being – our health. Medical care industry today is built and supported by multiple various technologies and devices that are responsible for all the most important discoveries and breakthroughs of the modern days.
The functions that contemporary technologies carry in the health care industry are different. The modern means of medical research are all based on computerized analyses. The data collected by the researchers is processed by various programs and devices. Besides, the technologies today provide the scientists with the best and most convenient information storage, where the requested files can be quickly found, and the risk of errors is minimized. The devices today allow medical workers to digitalize the human body.
All the processes that happen inside of our organs can be monitored and observed on the screen – the doctors can see through the tissue, examine our organs and bones, check the heartbeat and the chemical state of our body liquids such as blood, they also can examine our brain waves, moods, and nervous activity. The technologies provide medical workers with multiple ways of diagnostics for the most complicated diseases. There are robots that are used for surgical procedures and can perform operations with minimum invasion and maximum precision. The benefits presented by the technologies in the sphere of medical care, diagnostics, and research today are numerous. Medicine without technologies today is unimaginable. Of course, technological progress never stopped; it keeps moving forward and providing scientists with more opportunities to save lives and prevent diseases. Any part of the human body can be viewed on the screen, examined from all sides, which eventually leads to the possibility of printing the needed organ (Topol, par. 6).
The first technologies used in the sphere of medicine appeared in ancient Egypt. The healers of 950 BC found a way to design prosthetic toes out of wood and leather. One of the more recent and meaningful technological events that happened in medicine was an invention of the stethoscope by Rene Laennec in 1816. This invention was enforced by Laennec’s respect of ladies because the doctor was looking for a way to avoid placing his ear on a woman’s bare chest in order to save the lady’s dignity (A Brief History of Health Technology, par. 3). Not too long after another very important discovery was made, William Roentgen found a way to illuminate people’s bodies with invisible rays in order to see the bones and inside organs. This invention is what we call “x-rays” today.
The second half of the 1940s presented the world with transistors that were an excellent way to create much faster computers. Besides, this invention also allowed engineers to fashion much smaller devices that could be used in medicine. One of the examples of such devices is an implanted pacemaker that still saves many lives every day. 1956 is the year when Henry Heimlich and Paul Winchell first came up with the idea of creating a functioning artificial heart. Of course, one of the most recent and meaningful inventions that contributed immensely to the development of the medical technologies is the Internet that first appeared in the 1980s and has now taken over a massive part of all spheres of human lives. All of these inventions are equally significant, and even though they appeared decades and centuries ago, these brilliant and powerful ideas are still some of the bases of medical care of the contemporary world.
The technologies used in health care today are much more advanced that the inventions of the past, of course. These days the medical records of the patients are starting to be digitalized, stored, and carried on the devices. This saves a lot of time and effort to the doctors looking for a file of a certain patient. The previous paper-based system was very hard to operate with because the hospital archives were massive and included tons of files and folders literally. In order to find a single document the scientists had to go through millions of records and this process included actual physical work of digging into heavy piles of paper, folding and unfolding, reading through thousands of pages. It is a well-known fact that timing in medicine is everything; this is why the advantage given by the technologies is so valuable.
At the same time, this massive benefit of the presence of digital technologies in the sphere of health care has a negative side. We are all aware that computer piracy and criminal activity on the internet are very high in the contemporary world. Many people start to worry about the consequences that could occur if their health care information got into wrong hands, and its confidentiality was ruined. Of course, to prevent this issue, the experts are working on the creation of a safety net that will provide the patients with more security (Technology Plays Key Role in Health Care Reform, 2). Today, the government of the United States is attempting to enforce the use of electronic medical records in all of the hospitals on the territory of the country.
The scientists are currently working on more impressive inventions that will be able to improve the health care industry. Among the technologies that the scientists are currently developing and getting ready to present to the publicity in the near future are intelligent pills that will be programmed to deliver the doses of medication to certain areas of the body, these pills will be designed specially for the patients with serious digestive disorders such as colitis and colon cancer. Microchip modeling will soon be the leading base for medical trials. Animals will no longer be used as objects of tests in medical labs. This technology will provide science with the possibility of more efficient and precise testing and save both human and animal lives.
The scientists are also working on brain implants that will be able to detect abnormal electrical impulses in the brain and prevent people from having seizures by means of creating electrical stimulation and blocking the abnormal activity in the brain. This invention will present people who have epilepsy, with a gift of normal life. Artificial pancreas is another amazing and valuable invention that will see the world in the near future. It will significantly improve the chances of fighting diabetes that is the seventh death cause in the world of nowadays.
The scientists of Wake Forest University came up with a technology that will allow printing proteins onto the bodies of burn victims (Emerging Healthcare Technologies, par. 7). This technology will provide a much quicker healing process. Special contact lenses that have a capacity to detect glaucoma on earlier stages are being worked on by Sensimed. These lenses will create a possibility of treating glaucoma more effectively and preventing the patients from losing their sight. Besides, 3D printing is another invention that is starting to make its way to various spheres of the medical care industry. The scientists are working on ways of applying this amazing technology to the process of healing.
Today, the experts have found ways to print embryonic stem cells; this is a significant breakthrough towards the ability to grow organs, bones, and cartilage. There are also precedents of printing blood vessels. 3D printing is also a way to test drugs and do lab experiments with excellent precision. This technology has the potential of eventually providing humanity with a cure for cancer. Finally, 3D printing will allow scientists to create viable organs, which will solve the problem of patients waiting for years on transplant lists in the hope of getting a suitable organ from a donor.
It is needless to say how important technologies are in our everyday life, and today, the technologies used in the health care industry are applied every day to save millions of patients. The development of technological devices and the process of improvement will provide humanity with countless opportunities of treating and preventing diseases, improving the diagnostics, avoiding medical errors. The technologies today are the forces that are able to give modern science a significant push towards finding the keys to curing such diseases as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson syndrome. They also can eliminate the need to test drugs on animals. Proper financing and support of the development of technologies for the health care industry will help solve the problem with organ transplants and save lives of thousands of men, women, and children all over the world every day. These technologies in health care are our way to a better and safer future.
A Brief History of Health Technology. RockHealth. 2012. Web.
Emerging Healthcare Technologies. CSC. 2011. Web.
Technology Plays Key Role in Health Care Reform. WebMD. 2009. Web.
Topol, Eric. How Technology Is Transforming Health Care. 2013. Web.