Technologies in Healthcare: Boon or Bane?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Dr Kartikeya Ojha and Ms Shreya Nandan, two Global Health advocates from India. They are affiliated with 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.


With changing trends in every aspect, the various challenges affecting human health and welfare have drastically changed in the recent decade as well.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports suggest a steadily declining doctor-patient ratio with 2.5 doctors and nurses for every 1000 patients being the current average globally.The suggested ratio being 22.8 doctors and nurses for every 1000 patients. (1) The current requirement for compensation of a disparity of this scale is an estimated greater than 1 million skilled doctors in the forthcoming years.


The second issue is the decline in professional output, which is caused by the fact that there are few chances for training in super specialties in both the public and the private sectors. And to top it all off, there are insufficient seats for these trainings, so the shortage of qualified healthcare workers will persist. Lack of skills and training is a serious issue that could exacerbate the workforce gap in this industry. Healthcare professionals already employed or in training are not being used effectively, which could be due to the constantly evolving global healthcare difficulties. The lack of updates or modifications to training institutions and courses ultimately contributes to the current mismatch in talent availability.

Depending on how we utilise it, technology has a double edge and may either be a benefit or a curse. It may not be easy to trust machines and simply advanced technology with your life and well-being without knowing the consequences or the result for the same, so the prospect of an unknowable future in healthcare with technologies taking over and performing the tasks meant to be carried out by healthcare professionals in an upgraded version may be unsettling.


Newer technologies may be able to close the workforce gap that exists between patients and healthcare providers. With the introduction of more recent technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AR), virtual searches for safe and efficient existing medications that can be employed for treatment against the contagiousness of Ebola viruses have been conducted.


Another excellent example is Google’s Deepmind’s usage of AI for breast cancer analysis. In estimating breast cancer, this technology did better than all human radiologists. Trackers, wearables, and sensors for the healthcare industry are yet another gift from technology. Keeping track of health parameters has become more straightforward due to tracking various health parameters.(2)
Integrating modern technological innovations in the training process may go a long way in delivering better training and aiding in more remarkable skill development in the future of healthcare professionals when it comes to upskilling them to bridge the workforce gap through technology.

The introduction of simulation-based teaching and cadaveric dissections will ensure an improved level of surgical expertise, which serves as a trial/practice session of the surgical operations before live patient surgeries. This will contribute to an improved level of healthcare delivery for all. Lastly, the importance of personal effort in maintaining a healthy lifestyle will always remain supreme regardless of any newer technologies

References

  1. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2017/columnists/mind-the-gap-health-workforce-shortage.html#:~:text=Shortage%20of%20qualified%20medical%20professionals%20is%20one%20of%20the%20key,and%20nurses%20per%201%2C000%20people
  2. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/medtech-bridging-the-healthcare-skill-gap-in-india/article33451225.ece

About the author

Dr Kartikeya Ojha and Ms Shreya Nandan are Global Health advocates. Kartikeya, an incredible public speaker, currently working as a Medical Intern in Sikkim, is a voracious researcher, passionate about global health policies, and advocacy. He aspires to become a compassionate interventional Cardiologist in the future. Shreya, a 4th-year medical student in Sikkim, aspires to be a general surgeon someday. She is passionate about using her skills and education for the benefit of humanity. She hopes to contribute to making the world a better place with her dexterities and knowledge someday.

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