Technology is everywhere. It’s an integral part of homes, offices, schools, and even our health care. In many ways, technology and innovation are the cornerstones of our society. Industries have seen massive improvements in production thanks to the incorporation of new technology. Like many other industries, healthcare has largely benefitted thanks to the incorporation of these new technologies. The future of healthcare looks extremely promising in many ways. However, there are drawbacks and tough criticisms of health technology that need to be addressed. Here are six brutal truths about health technology.
1. Interactions between doctor and patient will become less interpersonal.
As technology becomes more prevalent in every aspect of our health, doctors and patients will not have the same level of personal relationships.
Doctors will utilize screens and devices more and more. They will rely less upon their ability to connect with patients. Similarly to the rest of the world, as our technology improves, our social skills can diminish. Doctors will likely begin to focus less on patient relations and more on their ability to utilize these new technologies.
Obviously, there are benefits to the incorporation of these technologies. One major issue in identifying medical issues is that doctors have to rely heavily on information provided by the patient.
Patients are often unreliable sources of information for their own symptoms and pains. Regardless, an important aspect of our health care as it stands is a doctor’s ability to empathize with his patients. One brutal truth about health technology is that doctor-patient relations may suffer as a result.
2. The incorporation of technology presents cybersecurity risks.
Another brutal truth about health technology is that it will add a new risk for patients and clinicians alike. Cybersecurity threats are more prevalent than ever before. Threats of hacking and data leaks are now an issue to consider in your healthcare.
When everything goes according to plan, the usage of the cloud can allow hospitals to easily access and transfer crucial data. However, when things go wrong this can lead to misinformation, or third parties stealing sensitive information.
Breaches to your personal information can cost you not only money but potentially your life. Improvements to health technology offer many advantages, but also risks. As such, cybersecurity is more important than ever.
3. Patient costs will increase significantly.
One of the major drawbacks for consumers with improvements to technology is an increase in costs. The improvements in health technology are no different.
In 2019, per an article by Meritage Medical Network, the United States ranked first for the greatest percentage of GDP spent on its healthcare. The cost of healthcare is already an enormous problem for many Americans.
It’s a problem that will not be going away anytime soon. One of the brutal truths of health technology is that this new technology will cause massive spikes in patient costs.
4. AI may not be the best option.
One of the largest innovations on the horizon is the improvement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. These AI systems are already in place in many hospitals and can assist in the identification and treatment of diseases or injuries.
While the incorporation of AI systems will bring many advantages, there are concerns.
The issues with AI in health are the same as the issues with AI as a whole. Can we trust an AI program to operate correctly without the ability for empathy? Can we ensure that the AI will not be susceptible to outside interference?
When dealing with health and patient care, mistakes can cost lives. As such, we need to face the reality that AI systems may present problems with the future of health technology.
5. We’ll have issues fixing broken technologies.
As our health technology improves, it becomes increasingly complex.
The machines able to perform these increasingly complex tasks are now built by engineers and programmers. So when these machines inevitably have errors or break, they will be out of operation for long periods of time.
Hospital and clinic staff are not equipped to repair these complex machines or software. The time for repair can be extremely costly.
These machines are now capable of performing incredible life-saving procedures, but an unfortunate consequence of this is the complexity of the machines. It’s a harsh truth that the complexity of these machines can lead to costly repair cycles and wait times.
6. We risk overdependence on medical technology.
The final brutal truth about health technology we must face is that the prevalence of technology may lead to an over-reliance on technology.
Medical workers have started to rely completely on the information provided to them by complex machinery and software. They have no reason not to.
However, this overdependence can be costly if there is an error or a breakdown in the machinery. (See above.)
This is not to say that doctors and hospital staff do not properly prepare for emergencies.
Rather, technology has progressed to a point that we can’t operate without it. What can a doctor expect to do if a crucial tool fails or misinforms him of a patient’s condition?
All in all, health technology saves many lives. However, it has its own drawbacks we must consider and weigh.