Too much technology
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHofmann, B. (2015) Too much technology. In: BMJ (British Medical Journal), 350 p. h705.
Medical excess has been identified as a key problem in modern health care. Overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and medicalization are identified in a wide range of fields. We seem to do too much of a good thing. Like in a Greek tragedy, we ruin ourselves by our very best abilities. But what are the drivers and mechanisms behind this development? This article investigates technology as a key factor behind the inclination to excess. Since the invention of the stethoscope by René Laennec in 1816, technology has transformed medicine, and today represents about 50% of the increase in health care costs. By identifying and analysing the drivers, mechanisms and the implications of using technology beyond its benefit, as well as the constitutive role of technology in defining disease, this article suggests six measures to handle technology in a reflective and responsible way. We need to acknowledge and avoid the allures of technology in order fully to cultivate and boost its benefits in order to avoid becoming tragic heroes.
This is the journal's PDF originally published in BMJ (British Medical Journal), http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h705