Technology permeates every dimension of critical care. Bedside technology is integral to the assessment and monitoring of patients and to the provision of treatment. It also helps with access to vital information and can enhance communication. Although it offers extraordinary benefits to patients and clinicians, technology may also create problems. Our research addresses the wise use of technology in the care of critically ill patients. It examines the appropriate and safe use of technology, its equitable distribution, and the human-machine interface. Given that some devices are more effective and safe than others, it is important to assess the appropriateness of a specific technology in a specific situation. Just because a particular device is available, is it necessary to use it in every possible situation? Do we use it just because it is there? Do we employ “heroic” measures sometimes when it would be kinder not to? Studies on the safe use of technology in patient care lead to a consideration of the risk-benefit ratio. Our research on gender and racial differences in the use of cardiac procedures in patients with acute myocardial infarction focused on the equitable distribution of technology. The results of this line of research, along with those of numerous other studies, suggest possible racism in our health care practices. The human-machine interface, or how clinicians and patients interact with health care technology, is a crucial focus of research. Technology is at the heart of critical care. It allows clinicians to perform miracles, but is also a seductive and self-perpetuating force that needs careful monitoring by those who use it.
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Distinguished Research Lecture| July 01 2011
As Health Care Technology Advances: Benefits and Risks
Marjorie Funk, RN, PHD
Marjorie Funk is a professor at the Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut
Corresponding author: Marjorie Funk, rn, phd, Yale University School of Nursing, 100 Church Street South, P.O. Box 9740, New Haven, CT 06536-0740 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Am J Crit Care (2011) 20 (4): 285–291.
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Marjorie Funk; As Health Care Technology Advances: Benefits and Risks. Am J Crit Care 1 July 2011; 20 (4): 285–291. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2011810
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