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Timothy Recinos
Professor Kole Matheson
English Composition 110C
15 April 2016
The Positive and Negative Effects of Technology in the Medical Field
From stem cell research to bionic limb replacements, we have drastically innovated the
medical field with technology, but innovations come at a price. These are the positives and
negatives in technological advances in the medical field, and advances we have made in
healthcare as a whole. With all of the advancements in technology in healthcare, it is easier for
caregivers to successfully diagnose a patient with sensor technology and find the necessary
medicine, treatment, and cure, we are more efficient because of innovation in the interest of
removing our imperfections known as human factors, and we live healthier lifestyles day by day
because of technology. Although advancements in technology prove to be beneficial to the
population, it is important to remember the overall question, do the benefits of innovating
technology in the medical field outweigh the costs required to achieve innovation?
Some say the costs of medicines are too high to be considered reasonable, so more and
more people have to resort to paying high rates for health insurance to get the treatment they
need. Granted, the statement makes sense. However, the benefits of technology and everyday
health care and cure research is worth the cost for society over time because it could lead to the
solutions for illnesses that are currently untreatable for the patient. Therefore, I believe the rising
costs of healthcare and medicine is outweighed by the benefits of using high-end technology to
develop cures for illnesses, efficient healing techniques to injuries, and better patient diagnosis
through advanced sensors in machines. The opposition also states that we can use
telemedicine and other health information technologies (HITs) to increase efficiency; therefore,
there would be a lesser need to continue dumping millions of dollars into medical technology.
Although I do recognize that telemedicine and other HITs are proven to increase efficiency in

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nursing homes, and it is better to work smarter than harder, it does not mean we should slow
funding to medical research and technology. For that reason, I believe the benefits of up to date
medicine outweighs the idea of spending less on medicine, and I think technology will continue
to become more efficient in the future as it is enhanced.
The beneficial effects of the technological advance in the medical field take place in all
aspects of healthcare. Whether it is treating a patient, conducting research and testing on a
product, overcoming a disability, or diagnosing a problem, technology in the medical field has
made life easier for all. Efficiency levels are rising because of technology and research
according to authors Greer, McGrath, Scanaill and Thimbleby.
On the other hand, authors Hsieh, Liu, Chang show evidence from a case study of a
pharmaceutical market in Taiwan to show the negative effects of technological change.
Additionally, authors Yeow and Huat Goh challenge the current standards of efficiency and
utilize technology and telemedicine to benefit cost efficiency which argues against the reasoning
that we need to continue to advance technology.
There have been a tremendous amount of innovations that have changed the way we
see disabilities and how we can counteract the physical and mental disabilities people are
diagnosed with. Within the last twenty years, we have seen a boom in technological
advancements in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs, and organ transplants. Prior to the
technology we have today, if someone had a limb-threatening disease such as diabetes or a
vascular disease, the first and only answer would have been to amputate the limb and force the
patient to conceive to the life of being handicapped. Now we see people with technology in
bionic limbs that can react to the body and its movements that react with the bodys movements
through sensors, and will adjust accordingly to do what the body wants it to do. We can
diagnose the bodys activities with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get information about
organs and structures in the body and determine if there is an issue with the structures.

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Technology is changing how we see disabilities, and advancing technology allows us to help
counter physical and mental disabilities.
It is also important to understand what era we are currently living in. Medical technology
is becoming so prevalent in the modern society that we have video game consoles with sensors
that are used to play, and new games are being created to promote healthy physical activity.
The technology is standard in our society, and its cheap enough for everyday consumers to be
able to purchase (Latest health technology on show).
Although technological advancements have proven to show better results, and the price
of technology is decreasing because of its prevalence, there are many discussions to be had
about what to do with the rising prices of healthcare; it is important to discuss health care
because there will always be new patients that need attention and new diseases that should be
researched. It is also crucial to mention whether we should continue to invest time, money, and
resources into advancing the technology in medicine if it will ultimately lead to higher hospital
and prescription bills. Putting the taxpayers and their money into consideration is key when
figuring out the best way to make everyone happy and insure that everyone benefits. It is a vital
political topic to discuss and vote for what we, the taxpayers, think is fair in terms of how much
we would be burdened by the need for innovation, and then we can only hope for the best in the
Another variable that determines the worth of innovation in the medical field is asked by
the question, What should we work to achieve in medicine? There are so many different types
of medicine and healthcare; it is a challenging job for one to decide what should be prioritized.
Whether it be cancer research, stem cell research, scanner and sensor technology with CAT
scan machines and MRI machines, or bionic and prosthetic limb technology, each is arguably as
important as the next. The continued dilemma is that each field of study needs different
amounts of money and resources pumped into them and each field profits differently, so what
are we looking to get out of the hard earned money we are spending on research. This variable

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is extremely significant because it is a continuation of the argument against innovation; why
should we dump money into technology when there are too many viable options to fund? There
is simply not enough funding for every organization to allow the benefits of funding to outweigh
the costs.
In an Associated Press video, we took a tour of a convention of technological
innovations that are focused for healthcare and the medical field. Whether its a device that
benefits your everyday health in its use like the Wii gaming system, which promotes physical
activity while playing games, or its a piece of surgical equipment that stabilizes hand
movements and magnifies the area (Latest health technology on show). Events and
conventions like the one in the Associated Press video are beneficial for the community
because it allows companies to show off the latest technology and it is fair to say that
companies are competitive, so when one company produces The Latest and Greatest
Technology! we can predict that multiple different manufactures will begin to create competition,
which knowingly increases the market and the rate at which new technology is being created
while also lowering the price simultaneously..
Dr. Michael McGrath and Cliodhna Scanaill, authors of Sensor Technologies, discuss
how technological innovations of sensor technologies in healthcare can benefit patients to
increase efficiency when diagnosing the patient. Due to the improvement of sensors, and the
widespread knowledge and understanding of what sensors are, we are seeing better sensor
technology used in our everyday lives with fitness, wellness, and lifestyle sensing applications.
A key capability of smart fitness sensors is their ability to communicate with external devices,
such as smartphones. Although some devices feature wired USB connections, the majority
support wireless connectivity. Wireless connectivity between sensors and a master device like a
smartphone, is a key requirement to avoid movement restrictions during activities. McGrath
explains that the advancements in sensors, specifically the wireless capabilities of sensors, and
the ability to pair wireless sensors with todays smartphones. McGrath implies that sensor

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technology is a leading innovation in our everyday fitness and well being, and the
advancements are leading to more people having healthier lifestyles by utilizing technology in
their workouts to maximize results. Sensor technology also plays a major role in diagnosing a
patient to give an accurate answer to a problem. Because of advanced sensor technology
emerging in the field, we are able to quickly detect health issues in their early stages which
allows for higher cure rates, lower hospital rates, and more efficient treatment (McGrath and
In Harold Thimblebys scholarly article, he makes sure to emphasise the point that while
technologies drive innovation, the human factor will remain a limiting factor of breakthroughs.
Thimbleby states, The nature of human expertise is that it makes errors likely . . . The point is
that as new technologies will improve things, we humans will still make errors. Furthermore,
Thimbleby infers that the existence of human factors is caused by technology being too
complicated when he states, Human factors is already a problem today: complicated gadgets
induce use errors. There is a balance between the time and effort a manufacturer is going to
spend making some technology easy to use (and safe to use) when the economics of selling the
product may not prioritize those qualities (Thimbleby 165). Thimbleby challenges the large
companies that are responsible to make the devices we use everyday, and he offers advice to
start regulations to try to cut down on the human factors that come with the technology offered
to consumers.
William Greers editorial article presents his views on the importance of research in
healthcare services. Greers article addresses a case study of Qatar, which has a population
currently approaching 2 million and yet 1.7 million are not Qatari. The issue with the large
population offers challenges for healthcare providers; challenges include the extremely
divergent ethnic populations that can have different disease backgrounds, the language barrier
throughout different patients caused by the variety of ethnic groups in Qatar, and the the
variation of cultural and nutritional habits. He then questions the deterioration of air quality in

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many regions of the world, and in turn has generated increasing concern with growing evidence
of its impact on human health. Greer concludes that research will always come alongside
innovation, and he suggests that all innovation in healthcare must be associated with
appropriate, targeted and successful research to define the current problems facing the local
population(s) and the healthcare community (Greer, Avicenna - The Innovation In Healthcare!).
Although Greers opinion is based on a case study of Qatar healthcare, I support his views of
utilizing research to meet the needs of the people you are serving.
As authors arguing against the need to innovate technology,, Yeow, Adrian and Kim
Huat Goh conducted an experiment to evaluate the efficiency of the healthcare process through
reallocation of resources to determine if conditions could be made to lower the rate of
healthcare by increasing efficiency. As Greer argues that technology is the problem, Yeow and
Huat Goh counter by working to reduce the costs and increase productivity, shorten treatment
times, and lower hospital rates. Yeow, Adrian and Huat Goh researched the impacts of health
information technology (HIT), which included the use of telemedicine and its impact on
productivity and cost efficiency. For their experiment they researched the impact of telemedicine
and found that services with clinical task allocation led to higher allocative efficiency.
Specifically, nursing homes or remote sites with a telemedicine system would be able to provide
patient information prior to appointments, enabling more effective scheduling and coordination
of clinicians work with the patients and their needs. As a conclusion, they stated, Based on
these arguments, we propose that telemedicine has a positive impact on productivity and cost
efficiency through process redesign and integration and dissemination of information across
different clinical units (Yeow, Adrian and Huat Goh, "Work Harder Or Work Smarter?
Information Technology And Resource Allocation In Healthcare Processes").
Similarly, authors Hsieh, Liu, and Chang argue against technological change due to
evidence from a case study in Taiwan which shows a rise in healthcare costs. They state, Other
factors, such as population aging, increased coverage of health insurance, growth in the

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number of health professionals . . . However, Newhouse explained that the above-mentioned
factors, taken together, account for less than half of the long-run growth in health expenditure.
Instead, the major part of the increase in health expenditure stems from technological change in
health care . . . Based on observing 182 therapeutic groups between 1997 and 2006, we find
evidence to support the argument that technological innovation and health expenditure are
determined simultaneously as technological innovation (Hsieh, Liu, and Chang 287-288). The
authors used their evidence to conclude that the responsiveness of technological innovation
with respect to health expenditure suggests that the technological innovation is influenced
strongly by market size.
We now understand the controversy between the costs of advancing technologies and
the benefits that follow, and anyone of intelligence can clearly see that the benefits from
technology outweigh the costs. Whether it is researching the cures to fatal diseases, restoring
an army veterans ability to walk, or creating fitness applications on smartphones to promote a
healthy diet and lifestyle, technology is optimizing the way we live, and technology is carving the
path for our future.

Works Cited
Greer, William. "Avicenna - The Innovation In Healthcare!" Avicenna (2220-2749) 2013.(2013):
1-3. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
Hsieh, Chee-Ruey, Ya-Ming Liu, and Chia-Lin Chang. "Endogenous Technological
Change In Medicine And Its Impact On Healthcare Costs: Evidence From The
Pharmaceutical Market In Taiwan." European Journal Of Health Economics 14.2 (2013):
287-295. EconLit with Full Text. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

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Latest health technology on show. Associated Press, 2009. Associated Press Video Collection.
Web. Feb 12 2016.
McGrath, Michael, Ph.D., and Cliodhna N Scanaill. Sensor Technologies. [Electronic Resource]
: Healthcare, Wellness, And Environmental Applications. n.p.: [New York] : ApressOpen
: Distributed to the book trade worldwide by Springer Science+Business Media, c2014.,
2014. Old Dominion University Catalog. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
Thimbleby, Harold. "Technology And The Future Of Healthcare." Journal Of Public Health
Research 2.3 (2013): 160-167. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
Yeow, Adrian, and Kim Huat Goh. "Work Harder Or Work Smarter? Information Technology And
Resource Allocation In Healthcare Processes." MIS Quarterly 39.4 (2015): 763-785.
Computers & Applied Sciences Complete. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.

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