The 21st century is known for its medical breakthroughs particularly as more technological resources have been pumped into the field. Nevertheless, despite these innovations, the current environment is complex for a practitioner. Medicine has become complex and more demanding (11). Issues such as identification of new viruses in the quest of curing chronic ailments such as HIV, cloning, stem cells researches, and use are but a few examples of groundbreaking work that sets medicine on a sustainable future; however, they serve as examples of procedures that are highly specific. This means that unlike other times whereby nurses and doctors would have a common discussion to finding solutions, today’s field may render a particular practitioner redundant. In the quest of finding cures to chronic and recurring ailments, technological advances have played a major role in making a giant leap to a bright future; however, the practitioner’s life is intellectually challenging, a factor that may change the forthcoming years of medicine.
As medicine has improved, more individuals have had their lives changed patricianly when it comes to chronic diseases such as cancer. According to Bingham, unlike any other era of medicine, currently, technology has provided the community with various curative avenues (210). For instance, cancer treatment has greatly improved over the decades with the advent use of radioactive treatment and advances in chemotherapy. However, all these technological benefits come with a higher cost of a late-life case. Hospitals need to be accessible to all types of patients regardless of one’s socio-economic status. The use of technology increase the costs due to the amount of financial and intellectual resources needed make it possible for patients to get the care they deserve. In brief, while the advancements in technology are a blessing when it comes to finding a cure for diseases that could not be treatable before, the long-term costs are high, and there exists a risk of socio-economic disparities among patients.
Another issue that is of concern in today’s medical field is patient invasion of privacy. Currently, most medical facilities store their patient medical history electronically through Electronic Medical Records. According to Sullivan, it is easier for practitioners to diagnose a current ailment while using the patient’s unchanged medical history, a factor that promotes the use of Electronic Medical Records, as they are easily accessible at the convenience of the practitioner (1533). Nevertheless, this easy access also means a laxity when it comes to patient privacy. Results on tests, medication, as well as billing information, should not be accessible to any doctor other than the case doctor. Additionally, cases of hacking a patient’s information may be made public causing much damage on a personal level. Whilst the use of Electronic Medical Records is truly convenient; it provides an avenue for misuse, which can result in a loss or publication of personal data reducing patient confidence in the field.
Technology is as efficient as it is programmed to be and despite the potentials of such a statement, its use may be a cause of Impersonal Health Care. Over the last decade, medical practitioners have become overly dependent on technology, and subsequently, most have spent less time analyzing their patient on a personal level as before (12). That is, instead of spending time with their patients, most modern medical practitioners shift their attention to interacting with their equipment. Due to this, there have been cases of wrong diagnosis, a factor caused by missing a symptom of an ailment that may not traditionally fall in the ‘Black and White’ parameters of electrical programming.
The issues highlighted are a danger to the future of medicine; nevertheless, they are minute as compared to the ‘golden age’ of medicine. Through the 1960s to the early 1990s, before technology became a big part of the medical field, some issues infringed the professionalism of who a practitioner is and what falls under their jurisdiction. The currently stated golden age in medicine was an era known for the mismanagement as well as the care of patients suffering from chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer (15). Additionally, patients did not have a checklist, a factor that led to poorly advised diagnostics. In such a case, I would argue that the 21st century is the golden age of medicine. Professionalism is a major aspect of having a sustainable medical society. Although there is a fear of a lack of personal care due to increased technological use, this may be corrected by using such breakthroughs sparingly.
Since the turn of the century, the medical field has seen an improvement in patient care due to advances technology in medical science. However, despite being a blessing technology has also brought in new challenges in the form of higher cost of late-life cases, reduced personal care due to dependence on equipment, as well as an erosion when it comes to patient privacy. Regardless of these issues, it can be argued that this is the golden era of medicine as technology paves the way for newer discoveries in curing chronic ailments as well as performing complex procedures with limited risks of human error.
Bingham, Ray. “The face-off.” Health Affairs 27.1 (2008): 210-215.
Sullivan, Louis W. “Grasping at the Moon: Enhancing Access to Careers in the Health Professions.” Health Affairs 35.8 (2016): 1532-1535.