I love tech, ever since I grew up with the wacky inventions of “Inspector Gadget” - although sadly I was not able to translate that into a policing career.
One of my first jobs as a teenager was at Battery World – then a subsidiary of InterTAN Canada who also owned stores like Radioshack before they were bought out by now the defunct Circuit City. (Interestingly, Brian Levy, the past CEO of InterTAN Canada retired from the company and went onto become an emerge doc!). It was an awesome experience, tinkering with all the new toys at the height of the Blackberry craze. It has all translated into my personal life. I have built my own PC from scratch, amalgamating it from a Frankenstein of several parts. I wouldn’t say I’m an early adopter of everything, but I do like to get a running jump on the hype train of something new just as it’s leaving the station.
Like many physicians, I’m very interested in the connectivity of technology interplayed with medicine. During my MBA training, one of my final projects was a proposed wireless system for diabetics to monitor their blood glucose. I somewhat leveraged this idea during my R1 residency year, where I also happened to work with Dr. Wesley Jackson (the former Dr. Gadget columnist for Alberta Doctors' Digest) on a QI project to create an EMR template for diabetic checkups.
Looking forward into the future, I expect natural market forces to push tech on the backburner while technology that naturally settles into human interactions to be the most successful. Unintrusive, intuitive, and trustworthy – nothing is more frustrating than technology that is none of these.
When people think of tech and medicine, many imagine the dreary, stylized cyberpunkish augmentations like in the movie Blade Runner. Particularly, in light of the recent scandals of Facebook and public weariness of excessive technological invasion and its ability to manipulate our lives. It does not have to be this way. While market forces seem unpredictable, unrelenting, and uncaring, it is up to us to examine them and take the leadership role in shaping it to the benefit of our profession and our patients.
- Vincent Vong, MD, MBA, CCFP
Banner photo credit: Gerd Altmann, pixabay.com