In The News

Student Essay Contest Winner: Grades 6-8

Students in grades 6 to 8 answered the question, “What will be the greatest breakthrough in medical technology or medicine in the next ten years, and how will it make peoples lives better?”

Following is the winning essay. (All essays have been edited slightly to facilitate readability.)

In the past few years, the use of telemedicine has grown in the United States and around the world. I believe that in the future, this medical technology will grow more and more, and will help both patients and doctors.

Telemedicine is the ability to connect by television and satellite to bring medical care to people who live far away from healthcare providers. Some ways that telemedicine is used are: patients are “seen” by specialty doctors without having to travel to that doctor, telesurgery is being done from far away and patients who need home care can be monitored 24 hours a day, if needed.

Specialty Doctors

If a patient needs to be seen by a specialty doctor and he or she is hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away, monitoring equipment at the doctor’s office helps the specialty doctor examine the patient without having to be in the same office. For instance, on television, the doctor can see inside the ear, nose or throat; audio means that a stethoscope lets the doctor hear the patient’s heartbeat.

Also, there are not enough specialty doctors for our growing population, so telemedicine will help the specialty doctors care for more patients who might not be able to get to that doctor.

Telesurgery

Examples of telesurgery are: a 15-year-old girl had an eye tumor, but she lives in the countryside in Hawaii, where the nearest eye specialty doctor is 210 miles away. She was still able to have telemonitored eye surgery, and the tumor was removed.

Also, a 68-year-old woman in France had her gallbladder removed by a surgeon in New York. It was the first telesurgery performed anywhere in the world.

Home Telenursing/Patient Monitoring

Home telenursing and patient monitoring helps doctors or nurses keep in touch with patients who have long-lasting illnesses. In the patient’s home is a patient monitoring station, which takes the patient’s blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate and stores medical information. The monitoring station also allows the patient to be part of video-conferencing with the nurse or doctor. In the home health office, a central monitoring station checks the patient’s medical information for nurses or doctors to look over.

The future of telemedicine seems wide open. Since there is a shortage of specialty doctors, it will be important to be able to care for more patients, and they won’t have to travel huge distances to see a specialty doctor. For patients who are taken care of in their home, monitoring will keep better track of their illnesses. Telesurgery will be done anywhere in the world, which means patients who might otherwise not be able to have that surgery can have it and, at the same time, doctors can be taught how to do the procedures themselves. I hope that this will grow more and more throughout the years.

Lauren Lehde
Simi Valley Adventist School
Age 13; Grade 8