As the World Wide Web turns 20 years old today, we take a look at how the technology has led to advancements in the medical industry.
For many of us, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been 20 years since the Internet began changing our lives, while for others it’s hard to imagine a life without it.
On April 30, 1993, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) issued a statement declaring that the World Wide Web technology was available on a royalty-free basis.
The technology was invented in 1989 at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee to encourage information sharing between physicists in universities and institutes around the globe.
Access to this technology opened the floodgates around the world for Web development. For better or worse, the Internet has irrevocably transformed every sector of society. The field of medicine is no exception.
Below are just a few brief examples of how the Internet has contributed to advancements in medical technology.
Better Access to Medical Information – Google a common ailment like Athlete’s Foot and you can immediately find a brief explanation: It’s a common infection caused by fungus. Every disease and condition is now only a Google search away and published on websites like WebMD.com, MayoClinic.com and NIH.com.
Desktop and Mobile Medical Apps – The app-for-that craze has led to hundreds of medical mobile and desktop apps that anyone can use to learn about drug Interactions, anatomy, and diseases and conditions. Apps are currently being developed to monitor a patient’s vitals (blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, diabetes, etc..,) in real-time, sending the data back to the attending physician who will then decide when to schedule follow up appointments.
Improved Collaboration – With digital download, upload and streaming, it’s easy for medical professionals and students to exchange information that support college education or continuing education goals.
The Switch to Electronic Medical Records- In 2009, doctors and hospitals began switching from paper charts to electronic medical records. The federal government mandated that all doctors and hospitals have an EMR system in place by 2014. Electronic Medical Records companies clamored to serve the emerging market by developing new software and protocols to update health code through the Internet.
While the Internet has pushed innovation in medical information technology, there are signs that the medical community is slow to embrace the information age and everything it has to offer.
Dr. Leslie Saxon, Founder and Executive Director of the University of Southern Claifornia Center for Body Computing, sums it up in the following quote.
“It’s not a regulatory problem or a lack-of-vision problem in the medical and technology companies; it’s that there’s too much perceived risk in changing the medical structure. These technologies could profoundly improve the basics of how we practice medicine. Being connected fundamentally changes the doctor-patient relationship.”
Read Dr. Saxon's guest post One doctor explains why the Internet hasn’t really changed medicine on VentureBeat.com
Anomalous Medical is a 3D anatomy software program availble for download via the World Wide Web. To learn more about Anomalous Medical, visit the How It Works page.