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June 25, 2008

Taming the Technology Beast

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2008;299(24):2898-2899. doi:10.1001/jama.299.24.2898

The miracles wrought by better health care technologies abound—like mended hearts, leukemias cured, noninvasive images, and organ system monitors. But with artificial heart valves came new risks from infections and anticoagulation; with the breakthrough of intrathecal methotrexate to cure leukemia came new deaths from intrathecal vincristine given by mistake; new monitors began sounding new false alarms that could drive nurses and patients crazy. Electronic medical records mitigate some problems1 and introduce others.2 Every new technology, like every new drug, brings good and bad news.