Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Should new technologies in medicine threaten one’s (old) practice?

in Health IT/Medicine/Physician/Technology by

In one community where I practice, no hospitals offered diagnostic procedures like CT Scans or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Thus the current practice is to immediately transfer the patient to a nearby hospital with such capabilities. This, in spite of the fact that medical professionals here can actually perform the needed medical procedure after the CT was done. This practice went on for so long as I can remember and physicians bothered less and less about honing their skills managing ill patients diagnosed with the help of  a CT Scan.

Until one day, one hospital invested in a cat scan. Many physicians suddenly find themselves in a dilemma. That despite, the availability of a ct scan now, many physicians lacked or simply forgot to learn or re-learn how to manage patients that was diagnosed with the help of a CT scan.

Many physicians view new medical technologies as a threat, simply because they lose patients in the process.  Somehow though, there’s this lukewarm acceptance for re-learning of skills. The quandary is not about what you don’t know, but about how confident are you in managing those that you now knew because there’s a CT. Should they still refer the patient to another city for treatment despite the fact that the diagnostic technology is available here already? Would you see this as an opportunity for re-learning or would you simply refer the patient and free yourself the hassle of it?

This is just an example of technologies that threaten conventional practice. Many physicians view it as a threat, simply because they lose patients in the process but somehow, there’s this lukewarm acceptance for re-learning of skills. For some, this an opportune moment for seizing the timing for creating value added services (like ICUs and neurosurgery) in the hospital. For patients, this is totally a welcome development and improvement. Lower costs and convenience for both the diagnostic procedure and the value added service cannot be simply ignored. New technology, if indeed necessary, is here to stay.

So are you going to just ignore it and go on with your old practice or re-learn skills to adequately manage the influx of patients as a result of new technologies? Put your comment below.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (www.remomd.com).

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