Use of technology in medical care

From time immemorial human preoccupation with health, illness and death has been documented, however the knowledge of these remained stagnant from the ancient world to the period of Renaissance.

Sweeping changes in medical sciences commenced around the 17th and the 18th century through the works of Hooke, Newton, Boyle, Harvey and Vesalius. These changes gathered momentum through the 19th century however technology had little impact on the health of the common public around this time.

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The foundations for the use of technology in medical science were laid in the second half of the 20th century. From the rapid changes occurring in this field it is quite clear that the most exciting phase of biomedical change is just starting.
The development of sophisticated technological biomedical tools has helped to improve the understanding of diagnostics and pathophysiology of a number of chronic and infectious diseases and their analysis at the molecular and structural level has enabled effective control.

Though other medical specialties have also benefited, both cardiology and neurology have especially gained from advanced technology. Maternal health and child health have also benefited tremendously from technological advances in obstetrics and gynecology. New technologies relating to cell biology, proteomics and genomics are still in their infancy although the prospects are exciting.

An extremely essential application of DNA technology is the control of infectious/communicable diseases especially in the light of emerging of several new infectious agents in the last few years.
Stem cell therapy and organ therapy are the latest areas in cell biology which hold bright promises for transplants and is as yet still in the research stages. This technology is also surrounded by much bitter controversies but the immensity of benefits promised by this technology is tremendous.

Another important implication for technology in healthcare is the explosion of Information technology. This development has had a major impact on healthcare research, practice and teaching. Technology has also led to the development of minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures which have revolutionized medical practice.

Hip replacement via endoscopic surgeries and several minimally invasive techniques in cardiac surgery have been so promising as to think about inducing robotics in surgical practice.

Non invasive treatment options and image guided therapies are just two examples of the enormous benefit that technology has endowed on healthcare.
Despite the benefits and prospects offered by technology in biomedical science the economic consequences of high technology medical establishments are often overlooked.

Current research has demonstrated that medicine based on high technology equipments is bound to increase the cost of healthcare exponentially. Despite the instruments for the provision of medical care, its spiraling expenses consequent of the need for increasingly more sophisticated equipment and the capability to manage the majority of chronic diseases, together with better community awareness and requirement for healthcare, are ensuing in a position where most developed nations are finding it unfeasible to manage the rising costs of provision of healthcare services.

Conversely there are a number of studies which argue that the high costs of sophisticated technology is cancelled out by the benefits its offers. Hence, the jury is still out on the economic consequences of sophisticated technology in medical care.

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