You’re never far from your laptop, and when you are, your phone stays glued to your hand. It’s easy to feel too tied to computers these days, and sometimes you may wonder if all those screens are endangering your health and quality of life. But in other ways, computers are making it easier than ever to stay healthy, be informed, monitor our conditions, administer remedies, and keep track of all our medical details.
The days of doctors physically coming to your house may be long gone, but there’s really no need since they can see you right through your phone or computer. Whether it’s an app that allows you to show and tell with a physician using your computer’s camera and speakers or a patient portal that puts the results of an office visit within easy reach, doctors have never been so approachable. And if you’re not sure about that medical advice you received, the Web is full of resources to search, read, and ask about in public forums frequented by doctors and fellow patients.
Of course, if you do have to go to a doctor’s office or hospital, you’ll be surrounded by computers, even though you’ll probably see a sign telling you to turn off your cell phone. Besides the terminals in billing and the laptops on wheels used to record notes and take information, tiny computer components live in everything from a simple digital thermometer to a familiar oxygen or blood pressure meter to a b braun perfusor space injecting medications at proper intervals to state-of-the-art prosthetics. Though we still appreciate the human touch and value a good bedside manner, computers are busy behind the scenes making diagnosis and delivery of care faster, easier, and more accurate.
Chances are you’re doing some monitoring and metering for yourself at home as well. If you strap a fitness tracking device on your wrist, step on a smart scale, or use apps to track your diet or water consumption, computers are working to make you healthier. Online contests for the most steps walked can motivate you to tear yourself away from cat videos to go for a walk. Follow a yoga session or aerobic workout on your phone, or lessen stress with a meditation program.
Next time someone says all that computer use is making you sick, you’ll know that in fact, it can be the cure for what ails you.