Medical technology has come a long way, from the dissection-based anatomy lessons in the Middle Ages to the advanced, 3D-enabled surgery simulators of today. Innovations like prosthetic limbs, VR treatment and EHR platforms have made significant alterations to the medical landscape. Patient care too, has changed, and the changing electronic medium of medicine has facilitated both positive and negative effects on patient treatment.


The Good


Innovations in medical technology have streamlined the process of medication and helped give patients and doctors new options to communicate. The rise of telemedicine ( the application of healthcare via electronic communication, such as email or video calls) marks a noticeable change in patient treatment, in how physicians can now provide medical assistance from a distance. This is especially useful when the patient cannot leave their house, or when a trip to the hospital would waste too much time.


The Bad


As far back as the 1980’s, the consequences of technology and doctor/patient relationships have been noticed and explored. In 1987, an article in the Postgraduate Medical Journal describes the isolative effects of medical machines on patients, and how these can negatively affect a patient’s opinion on their physician’s “bedside manner.” Electronic Health Records, despite their beneficial functions, also contribute to this sense of isolation. Patients feel like their doctors are not engaging them as human beings, while doctors feel alienated because of machines turning patient lives into mere data.


The Brand-New


Some new technology, however, is contributing to patient/physician separation, such as the case with certain EHRs. On the other hand, the ever-increasing advancements in technology, like mobile medical apps, can help empower patients and give them the control as inteded to determine how and when they get medical help or consultation. Another article from the International Cardiovascular Forum Journal also emphasizes the importance of patient-doctor communication in health care. If such communication is fostered, then technology can fully change patient treatment for the better.