This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Jasson Oscullo. The writer is an Ecuadorian medical student. He is also affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
Last century´s “science fiction” is today´s daily technology. What Jules Verne dreamt about in 1865, became a reality when man stepped in the moon surface in 1969. It is hard to imagine that it took in 1988, for humanity to sequence the entire DNA, nearly 3000 million dollars and more than a decade of work, and nowadays can be done in four months for a cost of 1,5 million dollars.
Medicine has gone from 40000a.C. instructions for healing in the Hammurabi´s code, to personalized immunotherapy against cancer in 2016. New century medicine is based mainly in the knowledge of biochemistry, genomics, and sharpened technology at it service.
With evolution growing as fast as possible, new doctors cant stay behind. On 2016 Shafi Ahmed performed an operation using a virtual reality camera at the Royal London hospital. Everyone could participate in real time through the Medical Realities website and the VR in OR app.
Any student dreaming about being a surgeon must now know about 3D visualization and augmented reality for surgery and Fast Healthcare interoperability resources. Driving a micro camera, 3d modeling/navigation, and the use of interactive software are things that must be in postgraduate’s applicants’ curriculum.
It is not a surprise that your bank account status can be seen instantly in Beijing or in Madrid. The same will happen to your medical record. This is based on online data bases though the web and transferring real time data. Lacking in the use of a computer and the web might be a new way of analphabetism in this changing world.
Being a Star Trek fan might help. Medical tricorders, smart hand held devices developed as part of X Prize Foundation competition, known in the market ad Scanadu or Viatom Checkme, not only measure body temperature, traces ECG, pulse rate and rhythm, oxygen saturation, systolic blood pressure, physical activity and sleep, or even being a “handheld DNA lab”, are proximally to be an alternative to patient self control. Doctors must face this as a future tool, and embrace data analysis as part of the medical history
Word Wide Web is our century´s steam engine. Innovation is constantly improving itself and “smart” devices are taking over essential parts of human existence. Da Vinci is the name of one of the greatest inventors of XVI century, and also one of the first robotic surgeons approved by FDA. Artificial intelligence seems as a potential risk of replacing people. But here comes the biggest challenge of our times.
Machine can memorize Harrison´s Internal Medicine Principles as fast as Internet connection allows it. So what’s left for new students about to jump in this field? Learn to use technology as the first cave man tamed fire, self instruct as regularly as apps updates are released, and mainly, develop our human part, the sensitive feeling and caring for the patient, the critical reasoning, motivation and creativity only our limbic system is capable of.
About the author
Jasson Oscullo is an Ecuadorian medical student. At his 21 years of life he is part of a generation that is stranded between the downfall of old traditions and the born of a new advanced era. Technology has always arrived late to his country. So he has grown up as someone that wants to carry the old and good into the new and promising. In resume, he is an old soul into a futuristic mind.