19th and 20th Century Medical Technology
In the begining of the 19th century, physicians stated employing medical technologies to diagnose and treat diseases. One of the first technologies is a Hutchinson’s device for measuring the vital capacity of the lungs. Another device is Herisson’s sphygmomanometer for blood pressure measurement.
In the first half of the 20th century, medicine was completely revolutionized with the explosion of the use of medical technology. Some of the medical technologies invented in this period were the thermometer, stethoscope, microscope, ophthalmoscope, laryngoscope, and x-ray. With these medical devices, doctors were able to see and hear parts of patient’s body such as lungs, and hearts.
Physicians in early 19th century mostly practiced general medicine, but development of specialities occurred at a very fast rate. In 1930s, 1 out of every 4 doctors was a medical specialist. By 1980, 4 out of 5 doctors were specialists. More doctors became specialists because of the expanding knowledge required for diagnosis and treatments. Furthermore, medical machinery and equipment have become so complex and require specialized skills to operate. Private medical group and hospitals began to form as a result of more doctors becoming specialists.
Medical technology and specialization also increased the amount of data required to diagnose and treat patients. Medical records became an important document for retaining patient’s information. This lead to the need to organize, and store medical data. In 1969, 80% of employees in the medical field were non-physicians. Technology also created a less face to face relationship between doctors and their patients.