Technicity in Nursing and the Dispensation of Thinking

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Executive SummaryWhile technology and health care delivery are inextricably and increasingly intertwined and technology has driven major advances in quality and efficiency in health care, technology does not replace the need for a thinking human being in care delivery.The term “technicity” refers to the tension created by the ability of humans to think versus their risk of being exploited as objects subservient to technologies.Drawing upon the philosophical works of Thoreau, Heidegger, and others, the authors pause on the conundrum created by expanding technology with the assumption that technological “improvements” should be evaluated with caution.Health care information systems are an example of tools that have improved our ability to collect and store information, but when systems “go down,” staff can be rendered helpless.Similarly, technology can impose personal distance between the patient and provider in instances where staff are positioned as a mechanism for collecting data rather than a person interacting with another person.In some cases, health care providers function as navigators helping patients reach the correct pharmaceutical, rather than as teachers helping patients seek better health.Lastly, the tendency toward systems analysis in the context of the complex hospital environment leads solely toward uniform solutions rather than instances where a customized solution is warranted.

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