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Health care's high tech evolution

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | May 01, 2013
From the May 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Personally, I'm not much of a technology type of guy. Although I find the latest inventions interesting and maybe even have a desire to own the newest products, inevitably, that desire fades quickly. I've never waited in line for the newest iPhone, don't have a fancy remote that controls the functions of my house and although I love to read, I've suffered through a few moves and packed box after box of books instead of picking up a Kindle or Nook. Maybe I was born a few decades too late, but it might also be because far too often, close friends show me the latest gadget and then the conversation goes something like this, "Check this out, it does . . . wait, hold on . . . alright, it does . . . Well, I had it working earlier."

And even when the app does work and their newest toy entertains or astounds by performing some virtual tricks, it seems there's been a slowdown in technology that is incredibly useful. Maybe inventors are taking a breather, or maybe there's been such a glut of technology hitting the market that I've become numb to all but the most incredible. For now at least, it seems that I'm seeing just minor tweaks and little bells and whistles rolled out for existing products - or in the case of Windows 8, maybe a step in the wrong direction. Fortunately, even though the medical device sector can fall into that rut, there are still major advancements popping up often enough to catch my attention to justify continued coverage and to warrant weighing the pros and cons of purchasing.

This issue of DOTmed Business News covers advancements in existing areas including the use of smartphones and related apps for patient monitoring duties (p. 59) and the re-imagining of test equipment leading to smaller, more affordable devices (p. 37).

But it's not just technology that is advancing. Even the way hospitals utilize staff is changing along with the expectations placed upon staff and the roles different departments play. One of the biggest sea changes taking place in today's hospitals is happening among their biomedical teams. It's easy to back that statement since even the name of the department officially changed to "healthcare technology management" just a few years ago. Regardless of what they're now known as, the group is still defining new roles and its new identity. Healthcare technology management professionals are becoming more visible in the facilities they serve as they become more critical to the bottom line. Fortunately for DOTmed Business News, they're also more willing to raise their voices and speak their minds and that's why we're presenting our first-ever symposium for these experts to share their thoughts with our readers (p. 27).

I believe the processes inside of hospitals will soon do justice to the technology updates and innovations that have been going on for years and in the next decade our health care system will be something to model other industries after. However, if I'm wrong, you may have to mail me a letter and I'll respond when I can drop off my reply at the post office.

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