I don’t know about you but I have a love-hate relationship with technology. It can make things simpler but it can also make things more difficult. There are days where I miss old school…..you know….regular paper and pens. There are also days where I am thankful for oodles of information available at a click.
Regardless of if you love or hate technology, we are in the middle of a technology revolution. We have to figure out ways to incorporate technology into our profession in positive ways. We cannot ignore this revolution.
There has already been some resistance to the incorporation of technology within our profession. There has been a lot of valid concerns about direct-to-consumer services, telephone genetic counseling, and online family history/pedigree programs.
Patient 2.0 is the concept where people meet online to discuss their health, clinical trials, which hospitals to avoid, which doctors to see, and treatments. While this encourages people to take charge of their health it can be a danger if they believe inaccurate information found online. Does Patient 2.0 do more harm than help or is it vice versa?
You can even ask healthcare questions on Twitter. You can easily search for genetics apps on your iPhone/iTouch. Some of these apps include; MGenetics, PubSearch, NextBio (correlated data from all public gene expression experiments), Odd Diseases: Genetics, and BioGene). You can even listen to podcasts or genetic lectures at iTunes U. If used correctly, apps could be developed to exposure middle and high school students to the field of genetics. Apps could also be developed as study tools for genetic counselors, however, we should not depend on these apps.
*Start rant: Most podcasts and lectures are NOT captioned. If you ever find yourself making a podcast please subtitle, caption, or make a transcript available. THANK YOU! *End rant*🙂
There is a new form being formed and it is a group with full access to technology. What about those who do not have access to technology (e.g. Internet)?
Two concerns I would like to touch on:
1) Should healthcare information online be regulated? Should we start exploring ways to teach the public the limits of technology (e.g. don’t believe everything you read online)?
2) It is easy to get lost in this technology revolution. There will soon be a forgotten group. People who do not have access to or do not feel comfortable with technology will be left behind. How do we make sure this group will always have equal access to genetic services/information?
How can we combine the pros of both technology and old school in order to provide high quality genetic services for EVERYONE?