Emergence of new technologies is a term which encompasses the rapid evolution of new technological systems or processes from a current state of affairs to one of great potential importance. Emerging technologies are those technologies whose innovation, application, or both are largely unrealized, although figuratively speaking they are almost fully emerging from a history of obscurity or nonexistence. Some recent examples of emerging technologies include cellular phones (which are rapidly becoming the norm in virtually all aspects of daily life), the Internet, and the Windows operating system.
What makes the latest technology interesting? It’s interesting because it’s changing the way we do things, for the better. Current and ongoing research and development into these emerging technologies may ultimately deliver new capabilities that were only dreamed of years ago. However, for many people, the fascination with these kinds of advances is not simply a matter of being able to imagine something better, but rather a matter of being able to “try it out” and “live with it.” The excitement and sense of discovery that such discoveries and innovations provide are often tempered by the concern that society will not be able to support the widespread use and application of these new technologies, and thus new technologies will be confined to the edges of society, only to be usurped and displaced by even more sophisticated and powerful systems.
This process of becoming familiar with and using emerging technologies during an era of significant change can be daunting, but fortunately there are some processes that can help. One of these is the assessment of suitable research studies and clinical trials that have been conducted on the new technologies. If these clinical trials are successful, then these technologies will probably prove to be highly beneficial to society. Likewise, if the studies are unsuccessful, then this could mean that it will be necessary to conduct more adequate studies, or to find methods to avoid the disadvantages commonly associated with new technologies. Both of these could potentially have a wide range of consequences.
One example of the use of new technologies in the assessment process is the assessment of the health effects of new technologies. Because new technologies have often been associated with significant short-term health effects such as infection and injury, knowledge dissemination about these health effects is necessary. In most cases, the information would be assessed through direct experience on the part of the patient or other affected individuals. However, some technologies can also have long term implications that must be evaluated in the context of current knowledge and research. Therefore, the assessment of the health impact of these technologies would also involve an assessment of the knowledge dissemination process and the ability of the general public to contribute to this knowledge dissemination process.
Another example of the use of technologies in the health technology assessment is that of evaluating the effects of new drugs. Drug identification is necessary for the tracking of new drugs that have been approved for marketing. Thus, identification is one of the key ways of assessing the health impact of emerging technologies. For this reason, it is important to determine the extent to which the general public is aware of emerging technologies, the level of general awareness of the health technologies and the potential impact that these technologies will have on society.
These are just a few of the areas that will need to be considered when assessing the potential benefits of introducing new technologies in the public health arena. This process has the potential to impact all areas of the public health arena. Some of the areas that will likely be most impacted include those that deal with disease, injuries, aging and prevention. All of these sectors face great challenges in meeting the public’s increasing health needs and so it is no surprise that health services research is increasingly focusing its attention on these three particular sectors in order to meet the needs of the people more effectively. This focus is an important step towards ensuring the success of future public health initiatives.