Technology is something that many clinicians seem to not want to adopt into their everyday practice. I get it…the job of a psychologist does not directly involve studying or understanding the latest technology trends or keeping up with new updates of the latest phone, the latest computing power, or the latest software update. We all have too many things to do and too little time to do them. For many clinicians, technology is not an area of life that is a priority. But what I want to bring to clinicians, through this blog, is how technology is important and can be an advantage to those that are willing to invest some more time into understanding how it can positively impact them, clinically and professionally. Examples of the utility of technology include utilizing a mobile app on your phone to notify you of new voicemails on your office phone so that you can return the call to a new referral; coding a custom spreadsheet for scoring a clinical instrument or for streamlining billing record keeping to have more time to do what interests you; setting up a professional and marketable website or email address that can attract more clients; and many other direct applications that can actually increase clinicians’ efficiency to focus on what’s more important, impacting their clients on many levels.
My goal is to spur some conversation between you, the reader, and myself to discuss how technology can give you an advantage into many aspects of being a clinician, such as how to create a professional web presence on many levels, how to meet HIPPA compliance but still have your documents be accessible through the web, how to set up a secure wireless network in your office, and even discussing how today’s current technological trends are affecting our patients, for good and bad. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of embracing or rejecting technology, technology is always advancing and it is difficult to ignore the impact it is having on our lives. Just look at how prevalent people of all ages and corporations are utilizing services such as Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It will be essential for us, as clinicians, to understand the deeper philosophical stances that are created in our current culture as people share more and more of their lives digitally with anyone who cares to see, read, or hear. Questions that come to mind are: What is a good balance of face-to-face versus digital socializing? What is the positive and negative impact of social networks, such as Facebook, to a client’s clinical presentation? How much is does a person’s virtual/online presence inform one’s own self-identity?
I desire to share my passion, knowledge, and expertise of technology and its influence and intersection with psychology with you. Prior to being a clinical psychologist, I was an electrical and mechanical engineer working in the San Francisco Bay Area working with circuit level design as well as system level design, so my knowledge of technology is wide and deep. Not only that, but growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area has given me a passion for understanding and trying out the latest technology, such as the new iPhone, new iPad, and home automation, such as the Belkin Wemo Family of products. My natural interest in technology and its trends combined with my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology has led me to foster a passion in understanding clinically how technology is influencing the clients we work with. Whether a client likes it or not, technology is a strong force that has deep impacts into an individual’s mental health. We cannot ignore this and need to understand technology to not only better our abilities to help our clients in their difficulties but also help ourselves evolve as human beings that are actively thinking about how all parts of the world are influencing us, whether we are aware of it or not.