We are all aware of the rapidly changing technological landscape around us. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding up a shoebox sized phone to my ear and marveling at how I could speak while walking outside; my new computer was a full sized desk model complete with 15” CRT screen and dial up internet ; and I was recording home phone voice messages on my answering machine; I still enjoyed thumbing through those huge Sunday papers. Even then, the way we communicated had already undergone change. In short order, the cell phone first shrank to flip-phone size and then morphed into Smart phones; my full sized computer was replaced by a laptop, only to be supplanted by both smart phones and I-Pads; and of course, we now have voice mail, texting, and social media to communicate. More people get their news on the Internet, than from hard copy newspapers.
Of course, we who have been adults for a few years, are all adapting; some eagerly embracing these changes and relishing not only the additional opportunities for communication, but the sense that a whole new world is open to us. Others of us move more slowly, only changing as we have to: when our 2005 flip phone finally dies; our original computer no longer functions; and our favorite local newspaper stops printing hard copies.
The Boomer generation that staffed and managed our laboratories for the last 30 to 40 years is now retiring or soon will be, and is gradually being replaced by the younger GEN X and GEN Y (Millennials). They are much more comfortable utilizing the new technologies that are becoming part of our laboratory processes for patient testing, as well as for communicating and storing data. In fact, it is these younger laboratorians who are successfully integrating their mobile life experiences into the newest laboratory technology.
We can be confident that today’s youngest laboratorians are growing up with the skills, experience, and comfort with mobile technology and instant communication to continue to improve on the quality of care for tomorrow’s patients.