#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
The Tools Of A Tool: Technology And Healthcare In Our Lives

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Image

Against the backdrop of healthcare reform and an expeditious pace of progress in biomedical research, medical technology companies are focusing more than ever on products that deliver agile, low-cost, qualified patient care. As technology continues to drive the medical business, the traditional line between engineering and medical science grows even thinner. 

Due to machines and computers shrinkage, the new gadgets are becoming smaller, faster, and smarter than a few years ago, which should make medical practice easier for doctors and consequently, for patients. For their low cost, the gadgets are a more affordable way to the health system which is highly dependent on abundant profit.

As reported by many industry observers, the scope of these emerging technologies can be unclear in the world of information. Along with its complex approval process and lack of regulations, even if most agree on the advantages that high-tech devices will enliven, the negative side might surpass the positive one.

It is undeniable the fame that bionic body members have conquered over the past few decades, for example. Nanotechnology has created many innovative devices which may eventually end up being the base of the health system. In 2015, a new take on a classic tool was selected by Times Magazine as one of the best inventions of the year—a Bluetooth stethoscope that can via a smartphone do the listening for the doctor, "who can visualize waveforms in real-time, record and playback body sounds, share recordings, and store data in the patient’s electronic health record in compliance with federal patient privacy rules". The scope could help reduce healthcare costs related to unnecessary specialist care by helping general practitioners take more advanced measurements on their own. 

On the other hand, another recent example of the use of nanotechnology that spurred controversy online was this year’s FDA’s approval for testing the implementation of a nanochip that connects the human brain to a machine on the human brain. Created by Neuralink, billionaire Elon Musk’s startup, the insertion of the device envisions reversing incurable conditions such as paralysis and blindness in the future. 

At first glance, having such a piece of technology capable of treating such conditions can be innovative and a way to better human life. However, it can also be perceived as not only ableist, which serves to fortify certain prejudices in natural human conditions but also a way to fortify stigmas that have led society to believe that a “perfect” human even exists. 

This nanochip relies heavily on monitoring brain activities by collecting and analyzing neuron records which will be sorted by artificial intelligence and used to decide which part of the brain sector needs to be stimulated to restore the condition to the default set. Because of how it functions, this type of technology also raises the value of data protection and personal information.

The General Data Protection Regulation requires explicit consent of individuals and since such nanochip would be implemented in someone’s brain, the amount of information gathered could potentially be unlimited and not agreeable to the person using it. There would also be an issue within the sphere of criminal law, which also relies heavily on consent and someone’s full or lack of knowledge of their actions upon committing a crime. 

Consumer-friendly wearable or unobtrusive monitors comprising a range of sensors and communications devices are already emerging into our daily lives. A new type of chip, embedded in a pill that will be able to tell if the patient is correctly following the doctor's instructions or even electronic aspirins that will be able to ease cluster headaches and migraine may sound futuristic, but many of these devices already exist and are being supplanted by a new generation of products that do it all faster and better.

In truth, there are not enough current regulations that can manage so many exceptions in the use of such technology which often leads to information leaked and stolen data. The lack of structured laws arguably brings more harm than good outcomes, even if the device was created to improve lives. 

To date, the progress the medical field has been achieving is greater than ever and the new generations are often encouraged to expect much better life prospects. However, with high inflation and housing prices suffering extra adjustments yearly, the scenario poses a different question concerning these new inventions: does that mean that healthcare will become more accessible to the masses or continue to appease only a small portion of the global population?

Accessibility to healthcare is highly reliant on multiple aspects such as public and private support, global assistance, and economic deliberations, all of which are directly linked to governmental policies and cooperation. As long as there is a continuing cooperation between administration and the legislative with the masses these new advancements can become part of everyone’s daily lives, making sure that equality is more present.

Advertising such discoveries to the general population is also awfully important to ensure impartiality. Such as the Healthcare Innovation Show in Latin America and the Health Innovation Conference in Europe are important ways to bring professionals together but also spread the word about these discoveries, starting debate and allowing the engagement of less-informed people in the discussion.

Nowadays, the word technology is directly related to healthcare. The constant use of cell phones is usually tied to an overall inability to concentrate, television time often replaces reading, and the use of AI has made the act of research be seen as obsolete and all are tied to more unfit, inactive lifestyles.

The real issue here, however, is the power that we allow these machines to have in our lives consciously. With the height of globalization and the world of information being accessible with one touch, there is still a lack of awareness of how these machines will change our future.

Overall, healthcare and technology have always crossed paths and will possibly continue to lead our lives for many years to come. As philosopher Henry David Thoreau once stated, "Men have become the tools of their tools."

Edited by Victoria Muzio

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in