An OB-GYN is a physician specializing in managing women’s reproductive health. OB-GYNs are trained to assess and treat various conditions in the female reproductive system, such as menopause, pregnancy, fertility challenges, abnormal Pap smears, cervical cytology, birth control effectiveness, and breast-feeding difficulties or milk supply problems. Technology innovation has significantly impacted the OB-GYN profession.
Ways on How Technology Impacts the OB-GYN Profession and Career Opportunities
1: Effect on Practice and Work-Life Balance
Technology has changed the way doctors work. It has transformed the nature of a doctor’s practice, especially the time physicians spend with their patients and the time they spend on other tasks, including paperwork, billing records, and other administrative tasks. Many hospitals have adopted electronic medical records, particularly with the introduction of Microsoft Office applications.
Obstetricians are shifting more of their work towards pre- and post-care visits rather than routine office visits; they can conduct these visits remotely via telemedicine or by phone.
2: Pregnancy Monitoring and Prevention
Medical technology has advanced the practice of OB-GYN, allowing doctors to manage their patients’ pregnancies better. These advances include fetal heart rate monitoring, non-stress tests, three-dimensional ultrasound, and fetal monitoring for high-risk pregnancies.
3: Technology in the Examination Room
Technology is being utilized to improve patient experience during a typical OB-GYN exam. Physicians in training, medical students, and nurses/technicians are using new digital tools to help them perform routine exams. It is estimated that 90 percent of hospitals have at least one computer-based system to support physician-patient encounters.
Telemedicine is a form of virtual/online medical care based on the connection of patients to doctors via the Internet for real-time consultations and treatment. Telemedicine is beneficial for homebound patients due to illness or disability. In addition, OB-GYNs may use telemedicine to monitor high-risk pregnancies at home and conduct patient follows up after births.
5: Electronic Medical Records
Electronic medical records (EMR) are changing how physicians and the healthcare industry manage patient information. For example, EMRs allow OB-GYNs to track their patient’s blood pressure levels, weight gain measurements, and other vital signs over time. In addition, EMRs can store electronic images from cervical cytology smears, Pap smears, and sonograms, which are valuable for healthcare providers and patients.
6: A Growing Presence in Medical Education
Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in medical education. For example, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has begun using technology to teach the next generation of OB-GYNs. They will carry on the women’s health management tradition. Students can now view online lectures, take virtual cadaver exams, review clinical experiences and conduct research on their desktops or handheld devices.
7: Advanced Technology in the Delivery Room
Newborns are monitored via electronic fetal heart rate monitoring rather than the traditional stethoscope that doctors used in the past. Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring allows OB-GYN doctors to quickly detect and react to problems. Furthermore, fetal monitors and other technology can closely monitor high-risk mothers.
8: New Transitional Programs for Practice
Technology is also being used to create new transitional programs for obstetrician-gynecologists. It includes programs for those interested in the field but not currently licensed. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also begun using technology to train future OB-GYNs. Readings and lectures are available online, as well as online practice exams for those studying for the comprehensive clinical science exam.
9: Diagnostic Imaging and Ultrasound
Digital imaging technologies have advanced diagnostic imaging and ultrasound procedures for OB-GYN. For example, Doppler ultrasonography is an ultrasound procedure that measures blood movement in vessels; it provides additional medical information about the fetus/baby, such as heart rate and activity, which can indicate fetal anomalies or other abnormalities.
10: Birth Control Technology
Pregnancy risk management has become more effective over the past few decades due to the advent of newer technologies, including birth control implants, intrauterine devices, and other forms of birth control. As a result, it is estimated that nearly 94 percent of women will use some form of contraceptive during their childbearing years.
More and more residents are pursuing highly specialized fellowship training in obstetrics and gynecology. These specialized programs offer higher reimbursement and better working conditions for OB-GYNs. In addition, some academic medicine programs focus on recruiting future OB-GYNs into underserved communities.