Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is a contemporary technological tool creating a network through which professionals and other people can interact easily globally. Computer-mediated communication bridges all physical and social barriers in the society enabling people from different countries to communicate effectively within limited periods. Medical CMC began in the early 20th century following the inception of technology and this equally happened after the emergence of industrial revolution.
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In the 21st century, it became possible for people to use radio, phones, television, the internet, and other contemporary techniques of communication in information sharing.in developed countries, CMC is an advanced stage enabling medics and patients to communicate through a 24-hour Medical services. Through this, the health departments can handle emergencies to reduce the number of deaths occasioned by lack of prompt treatment. Computer mediated communication is of great importance to people especially in areas separated by physical distance. Today, medical tourism is a reality because of such techniques of medication that enable people across different cultures to share ideas and experiences about medicine. This paper intends to explain how computer mediated communication is relevant in the field of medicine. Its significance is explicit considering it approaches a population that recognizes computer advancements as a vital tool in awareness creation and treatment.
Uses of CMC in the medical field
Dimensions of CMC in the medical field are many including:
When technology first emerged, it had the sole responsibility of promoting inventions. Today, technology is a supporter of innovation because it empowers people to reason creatively in generating ideas that will help the entire society in one way or the other. CMC is responsible for creating awareness in the medical field. Initially, medical experts had to organize public campaigns in order to educate people about healthy living. It took a long time for such campaigns to reach marginalized areas characterized by poor terrains. This disabled transport to some regions making it impossible for people to receive vaccines or information about a disease outbreak. Computer mediated communication enables medical practitioners to share such vital information through the internet and other virtual technologies (Mort, May, & Williams, 2003).
Internet networks traverse different terrains enabling people from marginalized communities to access information and to respond promptly to the situations. According to the ObamaCare plan, prevention is the best way to prevent futuristic occurrences of ailments. This makes prevention affordable in comparison to cure explaining the significance of CMC in the field of medicine today and in the future. There are prospects of improvement in this filed including the ability to train the aged population and the poor about CMC (Chang, 2004). They incorporate the most marginalized group when discussing CMC and training them will automatically improve the situation making awareness creation through CMC very easy. Recently, the US government introduced the use of telemedicine in reducing stigma amongst people living with HIV/AIDS. Through virtual means, people easily share their experiences, they are able to meet people with similar encounters, and they promote safe intercourse and protection to reduce the prevalence of the disease.
Telemedicine is vast because it incorporates communication between professionals in the field of medicine and transfer of such information to the target populations (Chang, 2004). Through advanced computerized mechanisms, surgeons, doctors, and nurses can communicate with different people within different departments. There is an ardent need for the receptionists, the social workers, and medical experts to work together by informing each other of any developments within and outside the medical facility.
The same should happen between public and private hospitals when there is need for referral services. In such moments, CMC provides the services of hardware and software in order to limit the physical distance that the involved parties would cover to administer treatment or share information. Telemedicine is also explicit when patients visit Google Doctor and other virtual medical administrators in order receive professional medical advice promptly (Dickens & Cook, 2006).
This mostly happens in cases of emergencies or in scenarios where medical facilities are very far or when a patient needs the doctor-patient privacy. Proponents of telemedicine mention that it is a life savior because of its efficiency. However, others are quick to discourage this technique for lack of credibility considering fraudsters could take advantage of such platforms to mislead patients. Telemedicine remains very vital for many people because there are sites that offer professional assistance because the doctors that provide professional advice enjoy global recognition for the good work they do in medicine.
Research can be very expensive especially when it involves investigations of epidemics. Currently, the world is in the process of seeking a cure for HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes. There are different speculations and researchers come up with new ways of managing the ailments daily. This happens because they share such information through virtual means. This explains why researchers can come up with statistics about the prevalence of a disease in one part of the country and compare the same to data from a different nation.
Initially, research was very expensive because people had to rely on secondary material, physical movement, and information sharing through face-to-face communication. Critics of CMC believe that face-to-face communication is credible at has the ability to convince people that research is right. However, CMC overrules this possibility by explaining that people are free to carry out investigations and share the same information through different platforms and not only CMC (Chang, 2004).
CMC makes research easy because investigators do not expose themselves to dangers of communicable diseases whenever outbreaks occur. Advancements in CMC research in the field of medicine will help in the development of vaccines and medicines that will create awareness about healthy living while providing treatment for world’s severest diseases.
E-medicine is still at its infancy making it possible for medical students to access brochures and examinations through online techniques. Advancement in e-medicine is the ability to market hospitals, hospices, and medications through the internet, social media, television, and phones. Home deliveries of the same medications often support e-medication because the rationale of this technique is to limit distance coverage (Mahwah, Turner, & Peterson, 1998).
E-medicine also promotes medical tourism enabling people to visit the countries marketed for provision of excellent medical care for different patients. Currently, India has the greatest rating for medical tourism supported by such technologies. In India, most women become doctors while men become engineers. This explains technological advancements in the country enabling them to device virtual systems of communication in order to improve the quality of life for the overly populated country. Through CMC, America realized that India provides quality and affordable care for different people especially the ones in need of palliative care or the patients suffering from terminal diseases.
According to critics, the US targets India because its intention is to take over the industry by employing Indian doctors in their hospitals, offering them high wages, and reducing the overwhelming interest people have in India. E-medical services will still prevail irrespective of the distance involved and this is the only solace for people who depend on Indian medicine.
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Significance of CMC in the field of medicine
Efficiency in service delivery
One of the evident outcomes of CMC is efficiency in service delivery. Through electronic services, patients are able to receive medication. This mostly involves emergencies and people who deal with weight related problems. Other avenues of ensuring the same include dealing with patients suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Such diseases require control and management and without medical intervention, it would be impossible to find the best medical assistant who would offer credible information through CMC. CMC also creates room for the establishment of emergency alarms by collaborating with MediCall Services in London. MediCall Services incorporate the technologies developed for emergency services so that patients can call their preferred medical outlets to attend to patients (Dickens & Cook, 2006).
Through CMC, the doctors or nurses are able to communicate to the victims to perform first aid through YouTube. This depends on the magnitude of the problem. While carrying out first aid, the medical facility releases an ambulance to attend to the person. In essence, the overall objective is to prevent death by performing services efficiently through technological mediation procedures. Since the introduction of CMC, the number of emergency deaths reduced because people reach the ER after receiving CMC first aid.
The ubiquity of CMC enables it to achieve high levels of appreciation across the world. Many people use computer mediated communication to share medical information around the world. They prefer CMC because of its affordability and this improves the rating of CMC in the world making the technique ubiquitous. Today even remote villages have internet services, phones, televisions, and other wireless techniques of communication through which they can get medical information. Through television, the people are able to learn about ongoing public campaigns in relation to disease management and outbreaks. The ubiquity of CMC cuts across cultures, genders, age groups, and income levels because the ardent need for education erases the fact that people have to part with little amounts of resources (Cermack, 2006).
Information is a tool that empowers many people and medical information is a prerequisite for all people because each person wants to enjoy a long healthy life. This explains why people take precautions; they follow expert advice, and extensively engage CMC in research and sharing of medical information.
Reliability and quality assurance
In the field of medicine, hitches in communication, finances, or technology could cause massive destruction. This incorporates loss of life in delayed responses to situations or lack of communication concerning a disease outbreak among other things. CMC promotes reliability in terms of provision of information in a prompt manner enabling people to take precautions and prevent unnecessary deaths.
CMC invests in technology for purposes of research in the field of pathology, maternal care, childcare, treatment, and palliative care among others. Through effective communication amongst the involved parties, there is quality assurance that patients will receive the correct information and medication (Chang, 2004). Multimedia including fax, email services, social networks, and television among others are the most common techniques used between professionals and patients in CMC. Experts consider such techniques reliable because technological failure does not last long in comparison to failed communication in an analog system. There are high chances of rectifying CMC hitches because technical teams are always monitoring such communication structures even though this raises ethical concerns about the possibility of privacy breaching.
Face-to-face versus CMC in the field of medicine
Need for training and costs of implementation
The cost of implementing a CMC structure is very high in comparison to the naturally occurring face-to-face communication. The CMC structure should be able to accommodate the executive team, professionals, and patients and a crisis communication plan should be in place to rectify any mistakes. In addition, when introducing such concepts in an existent field of study, it is important to train people. This includes training of people within the facilities and new officials joining the team. The costs of training are equally high, but in face-to-face communication, interpersonal skills are inherent to humanity. On the other hand, patients in CMC plans do not have to part with consultation fees because they get information through multimedia without any costs (Mort, May, & Williams, 2003). Adverts and campaigns through television or phone conversations are cost free making CMC affordable in terms of service delivery, but expensive in implementation of structures.
Anonymity and credibility building
CMC promotes credibility by creating an assurance that various health messages are under the support of credible medical authorities. However, anonymous people are likely to use the same platform to divert the attention of audiences from credible medications to other improper messages. When this happens, it becomes difficult for patients and the community at large to trust medical facilities that use CMC. According to such individuals, they will only use CMC when they have assurance that only credible people use the networks for communication. CMC is efficient even though people prefer face-to-face communication when they need to verify certain facts (Allen & Hayes, 1994). This mostly happens when there are rumors about the ineffectiveness of CMC or past experiences in relation to the same. Medical experts should intervene to stop fraudulent characters from taking advantage of CMC in promoting medical crime.
Promotion of laxity
Face-to-face communication supports movement from one place to another in terms of research, consultation, or treatment seeking. Following the emergence of CMC, many people save the costs of traveling to medical facilities. Some of them do not have to face stigma associated with some ailments including HIV/AIDS, or Urinary Tract Infections. However, all these promote laxity and lack of physical movement might complicate health even for the medical experts who use CMC for similar purposes (Allen & Hayes, 1994).
Many people are likely to trust face-to-face communication for the medical field. Though considered credible, it is not costly or time effective because of the delays incurred in research and consultation or delivery of medication. Health is a topic of massive concern for the entire globe and it would be irrelevant to ignore the significance of information sharing through CMC. CMC is better as opposed to face-to-face communication because it has the potential to grow and improve in the future. It also covers extensive regions by bridging socio-cultural barriers.
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