Keep Your Eyes Wide Open With Technology

Advances in medical technology are rapidly bringing forth new diagnostics, devices, and smart and innovative approaches to medicine. For example, there are now smart contact lenses embedded with sensors and electronics to monitor disease and dispense drugs, and advances in surgery include the use of 3D screens to bring human anatomy to life during operations. Increasingly popular is the use of computers and handhelds in the offices of healthcare providers, leading to the thrilling and disruptive potential of mHealth, the rapidly growing business of using mobile technology in healthcare as highlighted in the February 2012 issue of Fast Company.These advances are all purported to bring greater accuracy and to bring down costs—and with US healthcare costs currently exceeding 17% of GDP and continuing to rise, this is an important issue.
These new advances, however, are not all necessarily leading to improvements in medical care. For instance, one woman who entered a community hospital with chest pains eventually landed at Cleveland Clinic for heart transplant surgery, not because she had heart disease but because of a series of cascading interventions triggered by a single procedure.
In light of these technological advances, we must ask ourselves, “What is the purpose and role of technology in the healthcare system?” We can all agree that technological advances and new approaches to medicine can be a great thing. However, physicians are now inundated with data and information with which they don’t always know what to do. In addition, new technologies can interfere with the patient-doctor relationship, as doctors are increasingly viewing computer screens and handhelds during office visits, leading to an increasingly depersonalized experience.
So, should we be enamored by the glitter of new technology for technology’s sake? Surely we should be looking at every new advancement and asking ourselves, “How is this helping patients?”

Sources: Newsweek, The Economist, Wired, Crain’s New York Business, Harvard Business Review

About Havas Worldwide Health
Havas Worldwide Health owns the Euro RSCG Life and Health4Brands (H4B) networks. The Havas Worldwide Health network has a uniquely unified model with all disciplines—medical, strategy, managed markets, medical education, digital, DTP/DTC, advertising, and PR—inside one agency, with one P&L. This allows us to deliver channel-agnostic solutions that are right for our clients’ brands without the traditional silos and intra-agency complexities. Also, with more than 2000 employees in 60 agencies in over 50 countries, Havas Worldwide Health has a presence in all the major regions and markets. Havas Worldwide Health is the global health holding company within Havas Worldwide (Euronext Paris: HAV.PA), a global advertising and communications services group headquartered
in Paris.

Noriko Yokoi