Can Technology In Medicine Be Relied On?

Technology is something which has taken over the Western world. 4/5 adults in the UK have a Smartphone, and almost everyone has access to the internet via some form.


However, how much has technology developed in a medical environment and how many medical professionals rely on technology. In 2016 a Coventry woman named Deborah O’Hara who suffered from Cancer sadly passed away after surgeons at the University Hospital Coventry had accidentally cut two arteries during a procedure to remove a kidney which was diagnosed with a tumour.


I wanted to find out the ways technology is used in medical procedures and whether it can prevent these types of complications in the future. I spoke to Pradeep Singh, a practicing Hospital Pharmacist working in cancer care who said, “From a medical point of view, we rely on our experience and knowledge to provide clinical judgement for the decisions we make. Medical technology provides assistance (e.g. calculating doses for drugs, scheduling chemotherapy treatments and providing alerts for abnormal test results). As healthcare professionals, we rely on this technology as these tools provide excellent information. Like with any technology, the user must be in full control of how to use, apply and interpret data and information attained from the technology itself. This is no different for medical technology. We are always using medical technology. I would always encourage the use of medical technology as long as the user understands how to use the system in place.”


Pradeep also went onto explain that although technology is readily available to use in medicine, it shouldn’t overtake a Doctors, or any Pharmacists own knowledge and experiences and that medical professionals should ensure that new skills are learned and developed.


I also spoke to London based Pharmacist Rina Lota, to find out how she felt on the ever-growing advances of technology in medicine, and whether they can be relied on. “I think technology definitely has its place in medicine and the application of sophisticated treatments is well accepted in areas such as oncology (cancer treatment), neurology (brain) and cardiology (heart). Medical professionals should make the most of the technology available but this needs to be balanced against the risks of such treatments as some are relatively new – some of the long- term risks may not be apparent yet. I assume that all technology used in medicine has been through robust testing to ensure that patient safety is maintained at all time. However, it is important to note that technology can fail and that appropriate back up care is available for patients.”


Technology in medicine is used for surgical procedures and operations, however it is also used on a day to day basis, and Rina explained how. “As a pharmacist, we use technology in our day-to-day practice, from processing prescriptions, conducting diagnostic tests (e.g. for cholesterol, diabetes, smoking cessation) so it definitely is very valuable. Most medical professionals use various technologies depending on their role.”


As I mentioned before, Smartphones are becoming a necessity for the everyday average person to have in their personal life, but what about in their professional lives? I asked Rina whether she uses mobile technology in her pharmaceutical profession. “Not at the moment but I am aware of many apps available to patients to help them with treatment, advice and to provide information. I think that this is an excellent way to help educate and reassure patients in today’s changing world.”

Aaron Virdee

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