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    Tech advances catalyze paradigm shifts in patient care

    New UT section details technologies that improve care, efficiency, doctor/patient satisfaction

    James M. Hotaling, MD, MSJames M. Hotaling, MD, MS Steven A. Kaplan, MDSteven A. Kaplan, MD

    Dr. Hotaling is assistant professor of surgery (urology) at the Center for Reconstructive Urology and Men's Health, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and Dr. Kaplan is professor of urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

     

    Medicine is at a crossroads where the convergence of genetics, machine learning, bioinformatics, robotics, and point-of-care diagnostics have the ability to significantly impact population health. This is happening at a time when health care costs currently consume 17% of the gross domestic product, a model that is likely not sustainable for the long term.

    Further, health care faces a work force shortage, a particularly acute problem in urology. A culture of safety, quality, and minimizing waste is now in place, with countless articles bemoaning how patient safety metrics are less than ideal. Finally, physician burnout is at a record high, largely due to the shift to electronic medical records, emphasis on quantity versus quality, and the effort to have physicians record and measure nearly every metric possible in health care.

    Related - Video visits in urology: How clinicians, patients benefit

    Despite this, we would contend that the future has never looked brighter for our specialty. Urology is now consistently one of the most competitive specialties, if not the most competitive, to match into. We feel that the interest in urology and the job satisfaction of urologists themselves has been largely driven by continued refinements in technology that have allowed paradigm shifts in how we care for patients.

    While most urologists are aware of the technologies that directly impact daily patient care, such as new medications for advanced prostate cancer, many are not nearly as aware of the technologies that have the ability to broadly impact health care. Some of these are specific to urology but many are being deployed across many specialties. Given the demanding and all-consuming nature of a busy clinical practice, many of us—these authors included—do not always have the time to stay completely abreast of new developments that could impact or improve delivery of optimal urologic care.

    Next: All of the technologies presented in this section will have the potential to improve efficiency, optimize patient care, and improve doctor and patient satisfaction

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