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All generations are convinced that they have lived through unprecedented change. In fact, for as long as humans have been able to write, they have spent time and effort describing how they are different—and often by implication better than—subsequent generations.1 I hope you won’t find negativity here, in fact, I’m filled with optimism by the young people I work for and with, and know that the future is in much better and safer hands than mine. But the changes in the world do have their challenges, and require us to change too. A decade or so ago Robert Scott Jupp and I wrote an editorial following two articles on the impact of Google on paediatrics2 which was primarily about how patients were using the internet and how we needed to adapt our consulting to take account of this. I suspect that the average medical student would now regard this as too obvious to even mention. In that article we wrote “when medicine began its gradual move away from Latin in the sixteenth century, it was hardly a smaller move than the liberalisation of knowledge introduced by the internet.” But, in that article, while we acknowledged that healthcare professionals might be doing a bit more searching for information, we didn’t really grasp quite how much we’d be using electronics.
I’ve had quite a few approaches over the years regarding articles about apps. The reason I’ve not worked with many of them is that they become dated very quickly. In a print cycle journal it can take more than a year to get from a first draft to a final printed version, and the ‘top to flop’ cycle can be much faster than this. If you want to look at a really ancient history example of this, you could look for the now-obsolete term ‘web 2.0’ in the context of me and Bob Phillips—we wrote an article in 2007 which I’ve just looked at and reckon that it is now mostly just wrong. However, Gala Rowe-Setz, Wilhelm Behringer, Damian Roland, Mark D Lyttle, and Haiko Kurt Jahn take a different approach and think about what it means for a clinician who is surrounded by apps and technology ( see page 258 ). With the use of a series of vignettes they ask the clinician to consider what they are doing, how they are handling data, what laws and regulations they are bumping up against, and how to navigate these challenges. This is this month’s Editor’s choice and is very much worth a read and thinking carefully about.
The rest of the journal is, in my opinion, a cracking read. From ethics through to molecules, if you don’t find something for you then please let me know, I don’t quite know how our brilliant team of editors could make things even more diverse, but I’d be glad to hear, as ever. Please use whatever technology suits you best to get in touch, but my reply may be hindered by my using my own device to diagnose bronchiolitis while being up to my ears in wheezy children…
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.