Module 3 Assignment: Rhymes of History Technology

Marshall and Eric McLuhan (1988) showed how the advancements of various technologies were instrumental in meeting the needs of an advancing society. “Rhymes of History” is a force that impacts emerging technologies. According to Thornburg (Laureate Education (Producer), 2014h), the new technology serves as a catalyst that rekindles “something” from the past. This “something” could be a social routine, cultural identity, or an historical practice. And, while McLuhan (1988) believed that media was the source of this force that broadened human conditioning, human need proved to be at the center of this process.

 House Calls of the Past

During the 20th century, the old fashioned “house call” was commonplace in America – especially in rural areas that were devoid of hospitals and medical centers (Clarke, Skoufalos, Medalia, & Fendrick, 2016). Until recently, the only vestige of this practice appeared to be in old television programs; however, modern technological advancements are credited with the resurfacing of this outdated form of healthcare. The traditional house call proved to be inefficient with limited capabilities for the physician. Extinction of the house-call era was precipitated by increased medical doctors and medical procedures with easy access to health facilities as emergency rooms with modern technology provided round-the-clock service for sick people.

Virtual House Calls

Today, patient-centered care is the norm (Clarke, Skoufalos, Medalia, & Fendrick, 2016). The traditional house-calls were replaced by an unparalleled system called telehealth which is viewed to be a threat to the traditional healthcare service industry, via reduced costs, patient satisfaction, and increased quality. Stethoscopes, thermometers, tongue depressors, and prescriptions have been replaced by apps found on smartphones. Face-to-face visits in the home have been replaced by virtual visits achieved via tablets, laptops, or other devices. Today, the organizations that sponsor virtual house calls are functioning as pilot projects that are replacing legacy healthcare delivery systems with mobile healthcare that relies on the use of wireless patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, tablets, and smartphones to make virtual house calls a reality (Weinstein et al., 2014)..



Clarke, J. L., Skoufalos, A., Medalia, A., & Fendrick, A. M. (2016). Improving Health Outcomes for Patients with Depression: A Population Health Imperative. Report on an Expert Panel Meeting. Population Health Management, 19(S2), S-1.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014d). David Thornburg: Evolutionary technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014f). David Thornburg: McLuhan’s Tetrad [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.Laureate Education (Producer). (2014h). David Thornburg: Rhymes of history [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014j). David Thornburg: Six forces that drive emerging technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author. Chesbrough, H. W. (2006). The era of open innovation. Managing innovation and change, 127(3), 34-41.

McLuhan, M., & McLuhan, E. (1988). Laws of media: The new science. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Schwamm, L. H. (2014). Telehealth: seven strategies to successfully implement disruptive technology and transform health care. Health Affairs, 33(2), 200-206.

Weinstein, R. S., Lopez, A. M., Joseph, B. A., Erps, K. A., Holcomb, M., Barker, G. P., & Krupinski, E. A. (2014). Telemedicine, telehealth, and mobile health applications that work: opportunities and barriers. The American journal of medicine, 127(3), 183-187.


2 thoughts on “Module 3 Assignment: Rhymes of History Technology

  1. Renee

    I am just in stitches by your carefully researched post. My husband and I use these health care apps quite often (smiling out loud). It’s amazing how telehealth is becoming a way of life. Like I have said, our issues as human beings remain the same, and we constantly innovate around them. I suspect too that traditional medicine is becoming rather saturated as a profession and young doctors have to find a way to earn.

    I like the point you have made about human need being a force in technology emergence. I have to agree. It is that reminder that helps us to keep technology into proper perspectives – as tools, means to an end and not the end itself. Otherwise, technology will be in control.



  2. Renee. I never thought of the new “dial-a-doctor”, virtual doctor visits as a technology that has replaced something from the past. The local Doctor’s Care office has implemented the virtual doctor visit, they also have the check-in online from home process and you will be notified when it is close for you to come in. That technology eliminates the need for a receptionist. I can see this technology expanding because people are so busy, they do not want to take the time to go to the doctor’s office,and the virtual visit makes it easier and more convienient for them. Thanks for sharing this. Great post– Victoria


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