Keeping up with medical technology is hard, writes Heather Lomax, but it doesn’t have to be.
Technology in the healthcare sector can range from digitized health care records to advanced treatment procedures, all aimed at creating a more efficient and effective healthcare environment. In order to continually provide excellent healthcare to patients, medical practitioners are expected to keep abreast of new developments in technology. And as more and more developments come out each year, those aspiring to join the medical field are also expected to become proficient with the implementation of new tech, medicine, and practices. However, once you’ve left medical school, it can prove difficult to keep up with medical advancements in your own time. Here are some techniques for staying up-to-date and advantages of keeping informed.
And as more and more developments come out each year, those aspiring to join the medical field are also expected to become proficient with the implementation of new tech, medicine, and practices. However, once you’ve left medical school, it can prove difficult to keep up with medical advancements in your own time. Here are some techniques for staying up-to-date and advantages of keeping informed.
How to Keep Up:
• Learn from Colleagues
Whether it’s online, at a convention, or over coffee, convening with fellow physicians will give you insights into bits of information that you otherwise wouldn’t have heard about had you stayed in the bubble of your clinic. Always ask questions on how to be a better healthcare provider and learn about new methods of running your practice. You never know what you might learn.
• Sponsored Meetings
If there are opportunities to attend local and national courses, study days, or conferences that feature panels on the latest medical technology, take any chance you can to attend. These events feature some of the greatest minds in the field, so not only will you learn a great deal, but it’s an excellent networking opportunity as well.
Many resources specifically tailored to the medical world of technology exists for the sake of transferring knowledge to physicians. Pulse Learning, OmniaMed, and NSA Health are just a few eLearning platforms that will allow you to refresh your memory on old lessons and teach you about all the latest medical advancements that have cropped up since you were in medical school.
• Print Media
While textbooks, medical journals, and guides have seen a decrease in overall popularity in recent years, the medical field still greatly benefits from the knowledge found in this classic medium, as medical experts update these texts every year or so. Plus, you can easily take notes and compare findings that come from different sources or archived materials.
• Short-Term Clinical Assistant Posts
If a particular medical specialty captures your interest, or you feel that you’re not as well-informed in that area, time spent with a physician in their field of medicine can prove a beneficial learning opportunity. While this is a more long-term approach, you’ll be better prepared for whatever issues your patients need addressed.
• Medical Paralegals
Specialized staff may be trained to conduct research and identify clinical trials and therapy options. For instance, UpToDate employs physician authors and editors to review medical information. Their services have led to improvements in patient searches by retrieving the most relevant information in less time.
• Efficient Communication
When it comes to communication in hospitals and doctor’s offices, it can be a matter of life or death. If the doctor and patient do not share the same language, and they lack a translator, the doctor could possibly misdiagnose the patient or miss vital information, such as allergies and fatal drug interactions. Plus, it is incredibly frustrating for the patient if they have to continually come in with the same issue that hasn’t been resolved because the doctor can’t understand the issue. However, the implementation of translation software and applications can easily be resolved this problem and get your patient the help they need in no time.
• Social Networking
Through social platforms, medical practitioners all over the country can connect with each other, no matter the distance, whether they need a second opinion on a puzzling case, or they simply need to look up another doctor’s information. There are also certain websites and applications that allow patients to review doctors and their practice, which will give insight into what you’re doing right as well as which areas require improvement.
• Knowledge, Tools, and Innovations
Countless R&D teams are working day in and day out, looking to improve treatments for life-altering diseases like cancer and diabetes. There are also tools, like Fitbit and Lark, which have been developed in order for doctors to track patient sleep patterns, diet, and activity. They also provide physicians with important suggestions for how to best treat their patients based on these factors, making their job a little bit easier.
But if you as a practitioner are not keeping up with these developments, you’re making their hard work all for nothing. And with new patient data software, medical analysis tools, and online research, if you’re not using these applications, you’re far behind the majority of practices, and it won’t be long before your patients move on to find doctors who can better treat their ailments.
If the medical field lacked the talents of engineers and inventors, it would be difficult if not impossible for physicians to continue to help patients. Because as new diseases develop, resistance to medication continues to be an issue, and communication technology abandons old models, there will be no end to the demand in their services. So, if you don’t stay informed of the best technology, there’s no doubt that you’re doing your patients a great disservice. Make this learning a lifestyle, and you’ll see your practice continue to flourish.
Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Blaze Systems. She writes articles for a variety of medtech blogs, discussing solutions for optimizing healthcare data protection and clinical technology.