WHEN WE FIRST CONCEIVED THE idea of a technology issue, we scheduled it for December, thinking this would be a good time to wrap up the new technologies that have emerged this year. Though that's still a valuable service, as time went on our thinking changed, and we realized our readers might be better served by a different approach to technology. Instead of digging in up to your elbows in features and benefits, maybe this would be a good time to step back and get some perspective.
The word technology, we all recall, comes to us from the Greek "technos," meaning "I don't," and "logos," meaning "understand any of this." Add to that inherent confusion the challenge of absorbing more and more new technology every month and pretty soon you're drinking water from a fire hose.
The reality is that very little of what we cover in this issue or any other doesn't deal with new technology in some form. Since every profession and every industry deals with the same challenge, the considerations that experts offer for assessing technology tend to be remarkably similar no matter what field they're discussing.
1. Know your goal, and determine how a new technology enhances your achievement of the goal. Keeping that in mind will help prevent your reacting simply to the wizardry of bells and whistles.
2. Remember that the cost of new technology goes far beyond the cost of the capital equipment. The human cost—in training, in restructuring work flows, in stress—are just as significant.
3. Remember that any new technology is a tool, and one of many at your disposal. Though we didn't plan it that way, Cindy Mattox, our guest contributor in this Glaucoma Management (p. 72), makes the point very nicely by showing where the myriad diagnostic options fit into her routine with glaucoma patients.
Dealing with new technology may be unavoidable, but it is manageable. The pace of innovation is never going to slow down, and in reality, no one really wants it to. For more on how to turn the pressure down and make better decisions, see our cover story on p. 34.