Hope for the Future of Medicine
Each day is a new day in medical discovery. We are living in a time where medicine happens so quickly it is nearly impossible to keep up with the latest discoveries. A question recently posed to me is “what gives you hope for the future?” with regards to this quickly evolving and complex health care industry.
My hope honestly is invested in the fact that we have a complex and evolving healthcare industry. Although I am so notoriously bad with change and admittedly take a lot of time to adjust to new people, circumstances and plans, even I can see that changes to medicine are what keep this field exciting and worthwhile.
The prospect of new ideas and innovation allow us to view each day as hopeful. Without the ability to envision a time, however far away it may be, where the illnesses we cannot currently treat and the brokenness we cannot currently mend are a thing of the past, how would we proceed? I am inspired every day by those in the background - the brains and hands who are investigating, identifying, researching, innovating, creating. These men and women are the true heroes in medicine, and they are so often overlooked.
I am practicing obstetrics in a time where some of the people who trained me, many still practicing in at least some capacity, can remember an obstetric practice in the days before ultrasound use. These physicians can personally recall a time when every single major complication and disaster we now prevent, from laboring with a complete previa to invasive placentas to anencephaly, was a complete and total surprise at the time of delivery. This alone is incredible to me and gives me so much to look forward to in my career.
Navigating these changes every day can be frustrating, especially as someone who so deeply values an evidence-based practice. However, the evolution of medicine has (somewhat) gotten in line with the evolution of information transfer and, so, it is becoming easier. Things like the ASCCP app for cervical cancer screening and abnormal pap smear management, Epocrates and UpToDate for practice guidance, and digital practice bulletins from ACOG can help us to maintain our sanity, while still allowing up-to-date, evidence-based practice.
So, my hope in this evolving healthcare industry and my excitement for the future lies not only in the fact that we have so far to go, but in the knowledge that we can still vividly see how far we have come.