How has technology impacted health in today’s world?

Author: Wen Ying
School: Raffles Institution
Year Written: 2019
Grade: A

One would associate technology to the prevalence of social media and machines in the workplace today. Regarding health, one would then say that technology is one of the leading causes of many health problems in the world today, especially in the case of obesity. But apart from that, there are many other benefits that technology has brought to the health sector in today’s world. We often overlook these benefits and only focus on the negative impacts that technology has brought upon us. Therefore, technology has brought about more benefits than disadvantages on health in today’s world as there is better accessibility to healthcare, better treatment processes and also an increase in ease of conducting health-related research.

Most would say that technology has brought about negative impacts on health in today’s world. This is due to the prevalent use of technology in our daily lives such as the use of social media and food-delivery services. Technology brings people much convenience as all they are required to do is to tap a few times on their phone screen and they then just need to wait for their messages or commands to be sent over to the other receiving party. Social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook allow for communication between people even if they are not facing each other and food-delivery services such as FoodPanda and GrabFood allow one to wait in the comfort of their own homes for their meals to be delivered to their doorsteps. This then causes many to stay sedentary as they are now not required to move around yet step out of their houses to get things done. Many thus take advantage of the convenience brought about by technology to lead a sedentary lifestyle. As seen in Singapore, obesity rates have been soaring without any sign of slowing down. People are eating more and moving less, which is mainly caused by this sedentary lifestyle that technology has brought upon us. Therefore, it can be said that technology has had a negative impact on out health in today’s world and we are becoming increasingly dependent on technology to complete many of out daily tasks without lifting a finger.

Overlooking the negative impacts that technology has on our health in today’s world, we now focus on the positive impacts. The advancement of technology has increased the accessibility of quality healthcare to many parts of the world which were once deprived of this quality healthcare. Along with globalisation, more healthcare officers are now able to access developing countries to provide treatment for its people and more information regarding treatment can be communicated across geographical boundaries. Telemedicine is one example of how technology has increased accessibility of healthcare to many developing parts of the world. A clinic was set up in Haiti after the Haiti earthquake struck in 2010, hoping to treat patients to the best of their ability. Telemedicine allowed for the healthcare officers and doctors working there to communicate with experts in more developed countries to receive diagnosis and treatment advice, providing better treatment for these victims. Eventually, the clinic treated at least 10 000 patients up to date, showing how efficient telemedicine is in providing these people with much better health. These patients need not travel beyond geographical boundaries to receive proper treatment anymore and are now able to do so within their own countries, illustrating how the increase in accessibility of healthcare brought about by technology has had a positive impact on health in todays world.

Another positive impact that technology has brought on health in today’s world is the better equipment and assistance that a doctor is able to utilise when treating a patient. The increasing usage of robots and machines in the healthcare industry today helps to better monitor the state of health that one is in and also carry out more precise surgeries to target a wider range of problems. One example is that of the usage of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). MRI allows doctors to see into different parts of the brain to diagnose a patient, without having to perform an invasive surgery to do so. MRI has also allowed scientists and doctors to have access to parts of the brain that were never once accessible. Apart from that, more AI-powered robots are used in assisting doctors in diagnosing patients in today’s world. These robots provide the primary diagnosis of the patient and together with the doctor’s own opinion, the doctor then makes the final call. This has then significantly increased the quality of diagnosis and healthcare that doctors and hospitals are able to provide now as the robots are able to cover up for possible minor mistakes that a human doctor could make. AS there is an increase in quality of healthcare provided in today’s world with the advancement of technology, it has thus made a positive impact on health in today’s world.

Finally, as technology advances, scientists and doctors are now able to conduct healthrelated researches with much more ease and with a much higher success rate. Scientists and doctors would have access to more equipment that aids them in their research processes and testing of their hypothesis. Taking the example of in-vitro and in-silico testing, many researchers make use of these two methods in testing out potential drugs or treatments before trying them out on real patients. These testing methods are able to accurately simulate a normal human body’s reactions to their drugs or treatments. Researchers can then modify their methods accordingly to come up with the best and more effective drug or treatment. As the research process becomes easier and more convenient, more novel drugs and treatment processes can be tried and tested to be used in the healthcare industry. With more drugs and treatment processes, doctors can now treat a larger variety of health problems, significantly increasing the quality of health of people. This is illustrated in the example of the spread of mad-cow disease in the past. As much research and tastings were carried out with the advent of technology, the cause of the disease was eventually found out to be prions. Doctors were then able to find a method to prevent the spread of this disease as they now know the cause. Due to the advancement in technology that has brought about convenience and ease in the research process, more novel drugs and treatment processes are carried out on patients now, alleviating the effects of health problems on them. Thus, technology can be said to have a positive impact on health in today’s world.

In conclusion, with benefits of something comes disadvantages and possible unintended consequences. This applies to technology on health as well. It is inevitable that negative impacts would arise due to advancements in technology but if we are able to reduce these negative impacts and recognise the positive ones, it can then be concluded that technology has had a significantly larger positive impact on health in today’s world than a negative one.