Modern Technology and the Traditional Acupuncturist
by Warwick Poon
Acupuncture is one of the Chinese sciences and is a system of medicine that has been around for three to five centuries. The system was designed and refined well before the invention of modern medicine, and relies not at all on the technology of today. Within this modality, diagnosis and treatment do not require blood tests, x-rays or digital printouts though the modern practitioner is trained in aspects of Western medicine to enable a better understanding of a diagnosis given by their doctor. One use of technology involves Laser treatments to the acupuncture points and this can be a helpful alternative for children whose points are closer to the skin's surface and do not require needles to reach them. But for the traditional acupuncturist, technology has little to offer our medicine. Certainly, for those of us who choose to adhere to the more traditional techniques, the view of many is that technology should never dictate a diagnosis.
On the other hand, we live in a world where the smart phone is dominant. It includes a phone, a video recorder, a still camera, a dicta-phone, a note pad, a GPS navigation system, and apps that can do almost anything, including many medical diagnostic tests, such as heartbeat recording and calories burnt. Some can even test blood glucose.
So, what can modern technology do for the traditional acupuncturist? Well, in my opinion, nothing in terms of diagnosis and treatment. But, there are many other things that a clinic is required to do in the busy world of today. Those of you who have seen me in the city will know that I do all of my note taking in there on my smart-phone. Intake forms are either electronic or scanned and made electronic, then destroyed once they have been recorded. The files there are recorded and backed up away from the cloud, and every precaution has been taken to ensure their security, thus preserving privacy. All receipts are sent via email these days, at both clinics. And now, we are introducing an electronic diary that you can access directly and make your own appointments without even talking or texting us (though this is still, of course, encouraged and will be necessary for appointments with less than a 12 hour lead in). This is one way modern technology is assisting the modern traditional acupuncturist.