There’s a lot of conversation about the negative effects of expanding technology, ranging from rueful (“Hey wiretap, what’s the weather report today?”) to sobering (like the many studies suggesting that overuse of technology can lead to obesity, depression, and a host of other problems). While these concerns are not to be taken lightly, it’s also important to recognize some of the ways that technology is making our lives better (and longer).
Back to the future.
Think about the evolution of tech in your lifetime. Even if you’re only in your thirties, it’s pretty staggering. It wasn’t so long ago that the word “app” was most commonly used when trying to decide between spinach and artichoke dip and mozzarella sticks, and if we wanted to waste time on our computers, we had to sit at our desks and play Solitaire.
Our kids have seen smart phones become smarter phones, but we’ve seen boxy, beige landline phones with spiraling cords* become smart phones (and we’ve seen the pagers, Zack Morris phones, Nokia brick phones**, and tiny flip phones that paved the way). We still remember what a busy signal and a dial tone sound like.
It’s hard to imagine now what correspondence with your friends looked like before the most recent emoji update rolled out, but if you dig deep, you might recall writing a letter to your pen-pal on Lisa Frank stationery and having to actually lick a stamp to send it.
* which apparently you can still purchase for the bargain price of $38.76
** which recently got an update, in case you miss your old midi ringtones
Handle with care.
It’s hard, as humans (especially busy humans), to resist convenience…which is why, even when we’re denouncing the digitization of society, there’s a good chance we ordered the soapboxes we’re standing on from Amazon Prime. Technology is like a tide that never retreats…and if you don’t keep moving with it, you can end up underwater pretty quickly.
But is it all bad? The short answer is no, of course not. Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Discovering fire brought the danger of burning ourselves, but it also gave us on-demand heat. Developing language gave us the ability to disagree, but it also gave us the power to communicate more effectively and have more meaningful relationships.
So while the tech frenzy might not always be good for our health, the latest medical technology advances provide many new ways for our doctors to take care of us…and for us to take care of ourselves.
A spoonful of sugar (or a VR headset) helps the medicine go down.
The benefits of technology in medicine are huge. With augmented and virtual reality on track to revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat patients, technology in healthcare today can feel a little like science fiction.
The Internet, along with all the devices we use to channel it, has given us almost endless access to information about health issues. This can be good and bad (notice a pattern here).
We all know someone who spends too much time on WebMD.com, and then rushes to the ER once a month just because the symptoms of appendicitis are also the symptoms of eating too many nachos.
On the flip side, though, if you’re the “it’s just a scratch” type who would rather sew your own leg back on after a shark attack than go to the doctor, the scary possibilities that pop up after a quick Google search might be the nudge you need to get something checked out before it’s too late.
Thanks to the growing industry of telemedicine, you can also see a doctor without actually going anywhere. Using real-time interactive video (sometimes in conjunction with remote monitoring tools) means that if time, cost, mobility, transportation, anxiety, or just plain old reluctance are a problem, you can get professional medical attention from your own living room.
In addition to general information, we have easier access to our personal electronic medical records and healthcare providers via portal technology. Being able to look at the notes from previous visits and send messages directly to your physician electronically means that we’re connected to our own health more than ever…because let’s face it, most of us don’t even like to talk on the phone to order a pizza, so the chances of us calling a doctor’s office and sitting through 20 minutes of hold music to ask a quick question aren’t great.
Self-service kiosks have been around for a while (you might remember asking your parents if you could go to the pharmacy with them just so you could play with that cool automatic blood pressure cuff), but wearable technology makes it possible to monitor vitals from absolutely anywhere, track our sleep patterns, and of course compete fiercely with our friends and family to see who can get the most steps in every day.
While technology is making it easier to stay healthier and live longer, it’s also making it easier than ever to prepare for the unexpected and the inevitable.
Ourlifecovered.com is designed for the tech-savvy, time-conscious woman who wants to protect her family with life insurance and then get back to meeting her steps goal…and maybe ordering some Lisa Frank stationery on Ebay, for old times’ sake.