Use of Technology in Medicine
Nowadays, it seems like people can do everything on the internet, reading, shopping, arranging dates, trading stocks, communicating with others and even diagnosing their ailments. While, doctors are more professional on treat disease than patients themselves, not only because they have solid medical background, but also they understand well how to use technology to assists them by various tests. Authors of article “It’s Not a Tumor!” and “No! The One Word That Can Save Your Life” explain how patients and doctors are improperly and over using technology in medicine. Using technology has changed the way in which doctor treat patients, as well as the relationship between doctors and patients. In the article “It’s Not a Tumor! The Psychology Behind Cyberchondria”, the author Britt Peterson explains “cyberchondria”, web-enabled hypochondria. People use the Internet to search medical information and diagnose on their own.
This habit leads to anxiety of concerning their health status. When their symptoms partially same with a certain disease, they assume that they have this disease. The author compares people with cyberchondria to gamblers. Gamblers believe they will win more after they “see a pattern in a set of randomly generated wining”. The same thing, people with cyberchondria believe that they have the disease when they see the list of symptoms. However, cyberchondria is not always bad, because it makes people pay more attention on their health, ask doctors for help, and take good care of them. Technology not only affects patients, but also has influence on doctor’s diagnosis and treatment. In the second article “No! The One Word That Can Save Your Life”, the author Sharon Beqley argues that too much medical tests and treatments are used, which is unnecessary and cost incredible large amount of money, even worse, many of these medical tests and treatment are rarely helpful or not helpful at all, or even make problem more acute. Patients who have use more drugs, have more test and treatment procedures will have “higher risk of side effects, surgical complications, and even death” said the author, and “that less health care can lead to better health and, conversely, that more health care can harm health.”
The Internet has become the major source of medical information beside that from doctors. There are many benefits that using the Internet for medical information. For instance, saving time and money, you can just stay home and click mouse, and you will see tons of information. Patients understand their diseases, related treatment procedure and drug use before seeing doctors, which may help a more efficient communication between doctors and patients. When doctors are too busy to explain everything to their patients, the Internet source could provide supplement information in detail. Patients could even use the Internet to check whether doctors treatment plan and drug use are appropriate or not. In addition, through the Internet, patients have more chance to know causes of disease, countermeasures for the disease, and are more likely to have a comprehensive understanding of their disease. However, the Internet information is only the supplement. Patients could not diagnose on their own, because diagnosis should be based on doctors’ medical knowledge and certain tests, such as electrocardiogram and blood panel. When patients start to perceive their problem, high educated people are more likely to use the Internet for medical information, and then to decide if they need to see a doctor. As patients are more and more participate to their treatment, and have the initiative to choose their doctor, the relationship between doctor and patient tends to become provider and consumer. Even though doctors are professionals on medicine and able to diagnose throughout technology test, patients can still refuse to do additional test or discuss with doctor about their treat plan as long as they know enough about their disease.
Their understanding of disease could be based on online research. This is a model of doctor-patient interaction called mutual participation model, in which patient and doctor work together on controlling medical condition. However, for majority number of patients, it is difficult to tell whether a test is necessary or not. Under this condition, people do not want to take the risk with deny a test that doctor recommended. If they will never know if the result is negative and their status of health is normal unless they actual did the test. When people are uncertain about their disease, they usually choose to fully depend on their doctors, who understand well about medicine. I usually search medical information online, because I want to take good care of my family. A couple of months ago, when my mom’s fifty birthday has just gone, she was scheduled to have her first colonoscopy. She was told to be fasting for two days before colonoscopy. During those two days, she was allowed only to drink pure liquid except milk and juice with dark color, and have to use some pills and liquid medicine that physician offered. She was anxious about the colonoscopy since she had never done that before. I tried to find the procedure of a colonoscopy from the Internet for her, so she felt more comfortable during the test. Throughout that colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist removed several polyps from my mom’s colon. Again, according to the Internet, we understood that removal of colonic polyp is an important means of preventing colon cancer.
Based on my family’s experiment, I don’t agree with Sharon Beqley when she says that medical tests bring harm more than help in the article “No! The One Word That Can Save Your Life”, because you may never know the potential disease within your body unless you have a medical test. During the process of medical improvement, technology is playing an important role on discovery of diseases and development of treatments. Using technology changes the doctor-patient interaction, and allow patient to participate more than before to control their disease. However, doctors and patients should use technology properly, for instance, patients should not diagnose based on medical information from the Internet, and doctors should not give too much unnecessary test to a patient who looks healthy. In medical field, I believe that technology’s merits outweigh its side effect. Even though it is difficult to keep the balance that using technology properly, I believe the more advanced technology and medical knowledge will help us do that in the future.