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Throughout 2015, ACP is celebrating its centennial and the
progress of medicine over the last 100 years. Many advances in
medical technology that are now standard processes and procedures
actually were once just a small idea and a glimmer of the future.
In the 1991 book, A Decade of Decision: A Physician Remembers
the American College of Physicians, 1977-1986, Dr. Robert H.
Moser, former Executive Vice President of the College, commented on
what he thought the future of medicine might hold:
"Fact: The computer era is dawning. Despite the uneasiness
of my generation, it is an undeniable fact that within 10 years the
complexity of interacting with a computer will have disappeared.
The intimidation of the keyboard will vanish when voice-activated
instruments will provide easy access to the wisdom of the
world-vast libraries of information will be at your beck and
call-and all available in real time. To use the computer will be as
easy as using your telephone. Cunning micro devices will be
available at your elbow accompanied by laser disc-activated screens
that will provide color, pictures and graphs. Print journalism will
be for archives and more reflective reading. The capability to
reproduce articles---even whole books in print size and page size
on good stock for traditional arm-chair reading will be producible
at the touch of a button. Real time information about the immediate
clinical problems of patients will become available. Consultation
with renowned experts will be at your fingertips-if you subscribe
to the service. Just as you subscribe to Annals."
...."It goes without saying that medical education also will
move to the periphery. Just as patient care is moving peripherally.
We must continue to explore rapidly evolving new dimensions in
education. Our Circuit courses will multiply and thrive, computer
teaching and testing, either by network or disc, utilizing MKSAP as
a prototypic vehicle, admirably lends itself to this new electronic
environment. It is only a matter of time before we will have
electronic textbooks of medicine and journals to provide answers to
medical questions in real time. As I indicated earlier, soon we
will have the mechanism to respond to clinical questions asked by
physicians in remote comers of the earth, answered by world famous
consultants-with x-rays and scans, bone marrow smears and what have
you, transmitted via high resolution screens through laser video
discs. Can you imagine the cosmic leap in improved quality of care
if a physician in Point Barrow, Alaska, can get a response from the
best minds in the country-in real time!"
Dr. Moser accurately predicted a number of intriguing advances
and already we have gone well beyond his predictions in a number of
areas. As ACP celebrates a century of advancement in medicine and
medical education, just consider what the next 100 years might
hold. It is truly astonishing. ACP wants you to share your
predictions and vision for medicine by entering the IMpact Essay
Contest: Medicine in the year 2115. Learn
Excerpted from Moser, Robert H. "Epilogue." A Decade of
Decision: A Physician Remembers the American College of Physicians,
1977-1986. Philadelphia, PA: American College of Physicians,
1991, pps. 270-272.
Back to May
2015 Issue of IMpact
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