The 'why': looking behind technology
Why should you care about technology? If you are on the fence about any issues related to technology then here are some things to consider (and if this doesn’t apply to you, keep scrolling down!)
- It’s 2021. The future is already here. Technology isn’t going to go away, and it is moving forward at an ever-increasing rate.
- Your competitors are using it to their advantage (and maybe to your detriment). Competitors in this case refers not just to podiatry, but includes other health providers, shoe stores, fitness providers and many organisations related to our sector.
- Taking advantage of technology can make a big difference. It has the potential to help you run your business better, become a better clinician, and perhaps live a more balanced life.
- Our profession needs to evolve. We must collectively keep up with the times, whether or not we are comfortable with it.
The 'what': what does technology encompass?
We all think of technology in terms of smartphones, software, artificial intelligence and robots, but where else does it fit into the life of a podiatrist? Here are some examples:
- Clinical gadgets: ultrasound, shockwave, microwave, lasers, scanners, gait analysis and much more besides
- Wearable tech: smart watches, sensors in shoes and even in clothing for data acquisition
- Education: internet-based courses, webinars, scholarly databases, video collaboration, apps.
As you can see, it’s all around us.
A closer look at clinical technology
So, we can use fancy clinical gadgets when treating patients, but does high-tech equipment make you a better clinician? Not by itself, of course. Clinical skills are formed over time, based on education, experience and a desire to keep up with advances in practice. These types of skills should not be replaced with machines, but instead work synergistically with them.
However, we are also now in an environment where our patients can go to a shoe store and get an impressive assessment with a space-age gait analysis machine and an iPad. If - after buying their shoes - they come to your practice and you are standing there with a goniometer in one hand and a roll of plaster in the other, then it’s pretty hard to look like a ‘cutting edge’ practitioner.