Technology is a means, not an end


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Ana Paula Weber and Mr. Lucas Gheller Machado, medical students in their third year of studies at Unicesumar, Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Over time, humanity has gone through several stages of development, so that each society has a share in the contribution for social environment’s evolution. In the 18th century, for example, the Industrial Revolution took place, a milestone in development that forever changed humanity’s way of life and consequently health conditions in general. Technology advanced more quickly than humans were able to withstand without any damage. This triggered a series of diseases that culminated in the involvement of a wide spectrum of individuals. Thus, it was observed that technology and health should not to progress isolated, but together, in order to obtain mutual benefit to society. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for the development of mobile technologies to save lives nowadays, once there is an increase in population demand and in the cost of acquisition, and in contrast a reduced amount of resources available to serve the entire world in a short time. 1,2

Even before emphasizing the importance of technology to save lives, it is necessary to reassess that there are fundamental precepts for the establishment of that in health. Edward Teller, for example, even though having  the technology to discover the hydrogen bomb, said that ‘‘today’s science is tomorrow’s technology’’, revealing the far too much importance of what preceded technology. Similarly, it is possible to infer that humanity was responsible for discovering technology and not the other way around, and therefore following Socrates deductive syllogism, has the capacity to develop simple technological measures appropriate to current and future health systems. 1,2

In addition, technological innovations in healthcare typically emerge in line with emerging demands. In this sense, examples such as artificial intelligence algorithms for image analysis and electronic medical records were crucial innovations in advancing health, and currently are simple and quick to be performed, helping immensely in health systems. 3 Furthermore there are the wearables and smart watches, devices created to monitor the health of individuals, which can detect possible adversities conditions and monitor comorbidities that offer health risks, facilitating continuous monitoring and increasing patient’s autonomy. However, nanotechnology, biotechnology, 3D printing, bioabsorbable stents, among others, are highly effective and necessary technological solutions for the improvement of the technique in health as a whole. 4 The big problem, however, is making these alternatives simple, low cost and accessible to the point of standardizing in the national territory and perhaps on a global scale.

That said, it is concluded that mobile technology is a potential ally to health systems in order to save lives. However, there is a notable problem in health systems: the difficulties in making simple what was originally simple, although shielded from bureaucracy. By eliminating the complexity of the determinants, the simplicity of technology becomes explicit. Besides that it appears that there is a lack of incentive, support and mass implementation processes, that is, the validation is simple and many times, it has already been done, leaving to optimize the execution and reach to the healthcare systems. 5


  1. Steinhubl SR, Muse ED, Topol EJ. The emerging field of mobile health. Sci Transl Med. 2015;7(283):283rv3. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa3487.
  2. Bhavnani SP, Narula J, Sengupta PP. Mobile technology and the digitization of healthcare. Eur Heart J. 2016;37(18):1428-1438. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv770.
  3. Zhu W, Shen Y, Zhen H, Yang X, Hu K. Study of the Application of Mobile Medical Technology in Construction of Grading Diagnosis and Treatment System. Zhongguo Yi Liao Qi Xie Za Zhi. 2018;42(2):95-98. doi:10.3969/j.issn.1671-7104.2018.02.005.
  4. Cox SM, Lane A, Volchenboum SL. Use of Wearable, Mobile, and Sensor Technology in Cancer Clinical Trials. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2018;2:1-11. doi:10.1200/CCI.17.00147.
  5. Mather C, Jensen S, Cummings E. Clinical Simulation: A Protocol for Evaluation of Mobile Technology. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;241:179-184.

About the authors

Ana Paula Weber is 20 years old and is studying the 3rd year of Medicine in Brazil, at Unicesumar (Maringá-PR). She is currently vice president of the Academic League of Intensive Care Medicine of Maringá (LAMIM), treasurer of the Miguel Nicolelis Academic Center (CAMN), member of the Academic League of Clinical Medicine of Maringá (LACMMA) and member of the Academic League of Plastic Surgery of Unicesumar (LACPU). In addition, she has part of Humanizart, a project of clowns aimed at social actions of empathy and joy to patients. She seeks to build her trajectory with academic activities and extracurricular activities.

Lucas Gheller Machado is 19 years old and he courses the third year of medicine. Currently, he is local coordinator of IFMSA Brasil UniCesumar, president of the Miguel Nicolelis Academic Center (CAMN), president of the Academic League of Intensive Medicine in Maringá (LAMIM) and member of the Academic League of Medical Genetics (LAGeM). In addition, he constantly participates in Humanizart social actions, aimed at serving vulnerable populations and collaborating with humanization in the streets and hospitals. His objective is to combine graduation with scientific and artistic development, constituting a formation of solid and essential pillars.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Commission Vice-President Rehn exaggerates Eurozone’s growth prospects

Industrial policy: recommendations to support Europe’s leadership in six strategic business areas

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

5 ways to break down the barriers for women to access leadership roles

A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Healthcare guidance apps to professional’s continued education?

The world needs a circular economy. Help us make it happen

Victims of terrorism remembered

Banks cannot die but can be fined

The next generation is key for a European renaissance

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

UN expert calls for international investigation into ‘evident murder’ of Jamal Khashoggi

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

Syrian Constitutional Committee a ‘sign of hope’: UN envoy tells Security Council

Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

Norway is returning Easter Island artefacts to Chile (Will Britain ever return the marbles to Greece?)

MWC 2016 Live: Mobile ad industry still waiting for “revolution”

Brexit casts a shadow over the LSE – Deutsche Börse merger: a tracer of how or if brexit is to be implemented

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

EU Commission announces Safe Harbour 2.0 and a wider Data protection reform

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Sudan Prime Minister survives attempted assassination

Monday’s Daily Brief: WFP mulls ‘last resort’ Yemen aid suspension, top peacekeeping awardee announced, abuzz over Bee Day, Ebola threat ‘very high’

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Why helping cross-border commuters is key to fighting COVID-19

Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission takes first step to launch negotiations with the United Kingdom

Emotional control and introspectivity in times of pandemic

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors


EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

What if Trump wins the November election and Renzi loses the December referendum?

Nicaragua crisis: One year in, more than 60,000 have fled, seeking refuge

Trump after marginalizing G20 attacks Europe and China where it hurts, brandishes currency war

EU-Ukraine Summit: moving forward together in solidarity

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

In Libya, Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by risk of fresh military confrontation, urges restraint

UN forum to bring ‘big space data’ benefits to disaster response in Africa

The 5 lessons from New York Climate Week to help us combat deforestation

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Poverty and social exclusion skyrocket with austerity

3 ways to use digital identity systems in global supply chains

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

Technology can help solve the climate crisis – but it will need our help

An open letter from business to world leaders: “Be ambitious, and together we can address climate change”

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

EU-US trade war? EU calls for logic while Trump’s administration is a loose cannon in a dangerous lose-lose situation for global prosperity

This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work

We spend half our time at work in meetings – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

The jobs forecast is unsettled. It’s time for a reskilling revolution

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

More Stings?



  1. […] Read More: Technology is a means, not an end […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s