Is Technology Stripping Humanity Out of Healthcare?

iPad 2. EMR. Tweeting medical devices. Diseased-based social networks. Augmented surgical procedures.

Healthcare has always been a technologically-dependent field. In fact, healthcare is technology.

There is in the provision of healthcare, however, Technology’s sibling: Art.

Technology is about being. Art is about feeling.

In healthcare, technology is about being alive, while art is about feeling alive.

When a nurse or a physician is so engrossed in the technological aspect of care – auscultation is a technique and therefore a technology – that he forgets that there’s a human being before him, this is the loss of art.

If you were to work out the ultimate trend of technology in healthcare if left all to itself, you’ll see a depreciation of the need for human involvement.

But we know – intuitively – that the human brain and ear and eye bring together a certain a quality lacking in even the most advanced technologies.

That quality is art. Art is what happens when human beings express what they feel.

The ultimate “agenda” of technology is the elimination of the human. Except…

…Except that, paradoxically, humans possess the one technology which can rescue art from technology: the Question Mark.

It’s that one simple technology which has always advanced healthcare and science and civilization and…art.

Yes, technology will strip humanity out of healthcare, unless we vigilantly practice the art of the question.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter





3 Replies to “Is Technology Stripping Humanity Out of Healthcare?”

  1. I really like this. I was at a session today about ‘medical humanities’ in the curriculum. I wish I had read this first:)

    1. Glad you liked it!

      Technology certainly has an important role, but we definitely need to bring
      art into the tech. Not always easy, but definitely a big part of the

  2. I would challenge the fact that humanity is even necessary to healthcare in the first place. Yes, people are needed to make it function and run, but really where are they the focus. Doctors, for the most part, treat symptoms not people. Insurance companies distribute risk. Hospitals are really just facilities. Pharmaceuticals are about biochemical interactions not about people. The list goes on.

    The wicked question in all of this: How do we return humanity to healthcare when it’s the right thing to do, but not relevant to the system?

    So long as commerce comes before people in the system, I’m not sure we’ll make much progress. Then again, is healthcare meant to be fair & equitable?

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