Furthermore, science and Western medicine are associated with technology and innovation. The idea that “new” means “improved” and that “cutting-edge” implies “better” greatly affects the way in which Americans view medical interventions.
—William Wiist, The Bottom Line on Public Health1
Technology has a broad meaning when applied to healthcare. It can range from the tangible tools, pharmaceuticals, and software that providers use during the provision of clinical services and the management of patient records to the procedures that constitute the standardized course of care. The word itself comes from the Greek tekhnologia, meaning “systematic treatment.” While the scope of technology has changed dramatically since the seventeenth century, the concept of technology still resembles its origins.2
Healthcare technology has been evolving since the beginning of medical science. For more information on the evolution of medical science, see Chapter 1, “Chronology of U.S. Healthcare.” ...