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Patients Take Back Control with Technology

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 10, 2012

Technology can be a wonderful thing. It can also be a cold and dehumanizing thing.

Unfortunately, in medicine, that often happens with one and the same device.

The very instruments that diagnose and treat us can often make us feel more like test subjects than patients receiving care. Anyone who's ever had an MRI knows the device that can find what's ailing us is also oppressively big and noisy. Woe to you if you're claustrophobic.

But technology is now being applied in the interests of healing the entire patient—mind, body, and soul.

It's happening in a big way, perhaps appropriately, next door to Hollywood, where the entertainment industry cranks out one technology-fueled blockbuster after another.

At the two-year-old Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, CA, patients receiving radiation at the oncology department don't just get an identifying wristband when they check in. They also get a radio-frequency identification (RFID) card.

Now, you'd expect the card to be able to let staff easily locate the patient, but what you might not be expecting is that every exam or treatment room the patient visits can sense them and adjust the room to their preferences.

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