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Computers in Medical Field

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Autor:   •  February 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,003 Words (5 Pages)  •  612 Views

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Today, in the United States, we all live in an age of technology and science. The use of technology and science has revolutionized our way of life. There are few things in history that have influenced our lives more than a computer. Today, there cannot be any field that is absent of the influence of computer applications. From farming to rocket science, computers have a huge role to play.

The use of the computer has been on the increase for some time in many fields. Medicine is one of the many fields that have made tremendous strides in the twentieth century due to the advent of computers. Computers are used in medicine in almost all areas. Whether it is data management, diagnosis, or treatment, computers have there own applications. Everything we know today in medicine might not have been possible without the valuable contribution of computers.

The Role of Computers in Storing Information

Computers have been used as storage devices for medical information for many years. Computer-based patient records are good examples to prove the worth of computers as information storage. Due to startup and running costs, possibility for abuse, poor functioning, and the risk of loss of confidentiality, they were not used very much in the past. Now, they have become almost indispensable. Computer-based patient records have many advantages. They "have the potential to improve legibility, accessability, structure..."(Medical Informantics) the possibility of integration with telemedicine, and increased ability to collect health information.

Computers are used for scheduling and appointment keeping. They are used to keep track of patients' visits. With the help of word processors, letters are typed and sent to patients reminding them for follow-up appointments. Accurate keeping of detailed patient records are extremely important to the medical practitioners. Therefore, medical practitioners have to rely on computers heavily in order to be efficient and successful in their profession. Exchange of medical information among the medical professionals has become a common thing now. With the help of computers, they are able to share valuable information with a high level of confidentiality.

The Use of Computers in Diagnosis

Without a proper diagnosis, a disease cannot be treated or cured effectively. Before the advent of computers, physicians merely took educated guesses at what caused certain diseases. Consequently, many patients either ended up getting treatment for something that they did not have or losing their lives. This unfortunate situation of just guessing does not exist now.

Thanks to computers, physicians can diagnose a disease with great efficiency. Modern diagnosis consists of three main steps, taking of a patient's health history, examining the patient physically and conducting a laboratory or radiological examinations. In all three steps, computers are almost exclusively used. Instead of looking through countless numbers of books for the causes of a disease, the physicians just have to enter the symptoms of a patient into the computer. With the help of artificial intelligence, they get a crystal clear picture of the disease. For example, twenty years ago, doctors relied on conjectures to determine the causes of heart attacks. Now, they can use chemicals, nuclear imaging devices and databases to diagnose heart attacks with great accuracy and treat them with tremendous success.

Telemedicine is a new, unique, idea that can play a great part in diagnosis. In telemedicine, arrangements are made to see patients using video or computer links. "It may be as simple as two health care professionals discussing a case over the phone, or as complicated as using satellite technology to broadcast a consultation between two countries using videoconferencing equipment."(Telemedicine Research Center) When a specialist sees a patient through computer links, the specialist can provide diagnosis for the disease and help to obtain a proper treatment.

Computers are also being used to produce


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