Visualizing the future: technology competency development in clinical medicine, and implications for medical education

Acad Psychiatry. Nov-Dec 2006;30(6):480-90. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.30.6.480.


Objective: In this article, the authors ask three questions. First, what will physicians need to know in order to be effective in the future? Second, what role will technology play in achieving that high level of effectiveness? Third, what specific skill sets will physicians need to master in order to become effective?

Method: Through three case vignettes describing past, present, and potential future medical practices, the authors identify trends in major medical, technological and cultural shifts that will shape medical education and practice.

Results: From these cases, the authors generate a series of technology-related competencies and skill sets that physicians will need to remain leaders in the delivery of medical care. Physicians will choose how they will be end-users of technology, technology developers, and/or the interface between users and developers. These choices will guide the types of skills each physician will need to acquire. Finally, the authors explore the implications of these trends for medical educators, including the competencies that will be required of educators as they develop the medical curriculum.

Conclusions: Examining historical and social trends, including how users adopt current and emerging technologies, allows us to anticipate changes in the practice of medicine. By considering market pressures, global trends and emerging technologies, medical educators and practicing physicians may prepare themselves for the changes likely to occur in the medical curriculum and in the marketplace.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Communication
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Educational Technology / trends*
  • Forecasting
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Organizational Culture
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Public Policy
  • Videoconferencing