The digital age has greatly changed the way we communicate with each other, providing brand new technology capable of making our lives easier. People on separate parts of the world can have real-time video conversations, organizing events like weddings, CME cruise conferences or corporate business deals. Messages across different departments in an office can be sent in the blink of an eye. Fast-paced machines handle production and data analysis, speeding up the creation of useful products and solutions. The 21st century is a time of great advancements. However, the digital age is also responsible for new problems and issues. Such is the double-edged sword of technology: Solving old problems and creating new ones at the same time.

Two Electronic Causes of Dissatisfaction

Smartphones are the flagship device of the digital age, with a multitude of functions that provide interaction. However, it is also the prime vector for social media-related issues, such as stress, anxiety, and erosion of self-worth brought about by posturing news feeds or toxic web environments. Popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are unfortunate facilitators of these problems exclusive to the internet era.

Portable internet devices are not the only contributors to the digital age’s issues. As observed in an NCBI research article, electronic health devices (EHRs) contribute a significant amount to physician burnout, the billing-focused clerical work involved in their operation causing stress and feelings of powerlessness in doctors. While the easy access of the internet via electronic devices constitutes its own problem, the difficult, time-consuming processes of EHRs are a digital dilemma almost exclusively experienced by medical practitioners, draining them of energy and enthusiasm for their work.

A Remedy for Emptiness?

The negative impact of the digital age has no one remedy, considering that social media, EHR development, smartphone consumerism, internet addiction and more touch upon complicated and intertwined social, economic and technological dimensions. However, one unifying factor, at least between smartphones and EHRs, is that these devices empty people of a very important resource: Human interaction.

While portable devices reduce face-to-face conversations and immerse users in online spaces, pulling one in aimless trends or internet arguments to the point of exhaustion, electronic health records alienate physicians from their patients, putting more importance on data inputting and medical billing over patient care or comfort. Stress, alienation, and burnout are often the results of these issues, and remedying such problems can take a while. Wellness-focused CME cruises for physicians can help doctors with such stress, but even the smallest act of positive interaction can improve someone’s day by even a small margin. This is not an advocacy for “feel-good” medication, nor is it imposing a naive solution to a complex problem. It is an observation, one that can be analyzed or acted upon. Restoring the importance of human interaction is a small thing, but it can make all the difference in the end.