The integration of information technology into medicine today and in the future was the topic of the latest Grand Rounds Lecture Series at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q).

The talk, ‘Computing and Healthcare’, was delivered by Dr Thomas Krummel, Surgeon-in-Chief at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and of Bioengineering. Speaking to physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals, he discussed the progress in medicine and surgery, which he said has resulted from a recurrent cycle of attracting the best candidates.

Since the 1960s, virtually every aspect of how a surgical operation is performed has changed, and physicians have adapted their skills and knowledge to meet best practice. These changes include the bed that the patient lies in, to the operating room, to the imaging that is utilised, to the pharmacology that the surgeon uses.

He also argued that mankind’s most profound advancements over the last 75 years have been in the fields of computer science and biomedicine and that over time, the two had converged and were now intersecting each other. This has significant implications for fields like professional development and lifelong learning.

For continuing medical education, there is unlimited access to acquire almost any information you want, because you essentially have a supercomputer in your pocket in the shape of a cell phone.’

Information technology is also having a huge impact in medical education through virtual reality and simulation, predictive modelling, and visualisation. Dr Krummel predicted that they would all be used for the selection and training of surgeons, but that also, surgeons would eventually be able to practice operations on a patient-specific hologram, before conducting surgery in the physical world.

Computing will revolutionise medical education and patient care as much as it has revolutionised everything else in life.’

The Grand Rounds lecture was accredited locally by the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners and by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

For updates and more information about the WCM-Q Grand Rounds lecture, visit qatar-weill.cornell.edu.