Things they didn’t teach in medical school: Part 28 Keeping up with technology & your patients

One of the things that medical school teaches is the importance of keeping up to date with the latest medical information. Well this is obviously important so that you are administering the most up-to-date treatments. What is not usually included in keeping up to date is keeping up with technology, and importantly, the technologies that your patients will be using. The doctors I know are often early tech adopters in their personal lives but not in work-related use…..healthcare is notorious for its’ slow uptake of electronic health records.

A lot of the technology that has emerged in the last 20 years is only starting to be used routinely in medical practice. Examples include websites to provide health related information or even management, text messaging and emails for communicating with patients, Skype consultations and apps on smartphones. Sometimes we need to take these technologies and use them creatively so that they are more than just electronic versions of paper. For example tablets provide an ideal opportunity to undertake shared decision making activities but more work needs to be done to make this more than eBooks and webpages.

I find the best way to keep up with technology is partly by using it and being an early adopter but also by having diverse information sources. Visual RSS aggregators like Flipboard are great way to find this information, as is subscribing to less than traditional medical journals like The Economist, Wired and Harvard Business Review. The latest place to look is Crowdsourcing websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Remember….we all like new toys, and some of them are useful.

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