Touch is central to the performance of medicine. Traditionally, doctors depended on touch to diagnose illness. Revolutions in imaging technology, machine learning and artificial intelligence seem to reduce the need for physical examination. Yet touch is not only about gathering information but is how we express compassion and care.
This lecture considers how ‘gnostic’ touch (identifying disease) and ‘pathic’ touch (conveying care) are becoming separated by technological developments, and asks what we can do to ensure that touch remains central in connecting doctors and patients.
Roger Kneebone is Visiting Professor of Medical Education at Gresham College and Professor of Surgical Education and Engagement Science at Imperial College London. His clinical career has ranged from trauma surgery in Southern Africa to general practice in Wiltshire and he has a longstanding fascination with education and simulation. His academic interests cross disciplinary boundaries and he is Director of the Imperial College Centre for Engagement and Simulation Science (ICCESS) and the Royal College of Music - Imperial College Centre for Performance Science.
In recognition of his innovative work combining medicine, music and the arts, Roger has been awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music, received the City & Guilds of London Art School’s first Honorary Fellowship, and been elected a full member of the Art Workers Guild. In 2012 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship.