People perceive their health condition to be good or normal, unless they have a chronic ailment. In a literal and perceived sense, a normal person is one who is physically and mentally healthy.
However, a recent study published by Royal Philips (Future Health Index)1 highlights the fact that there is a huge gap between how patients perceive health versus how doctors or physicians understand it. According to this report, when quizzed, 84% of respondents felt that they were in good health condition, whereas only 53% of medical professionals felt that the general public was in good health.
This chasm of health index can potentially lead to irreparable bodily harm, comorbidities, and in extreme cases, loss of life. While this is a gargantuan issue, our healthcare sector is grappling with issues of rising costs and trying to find effective means to honor the promise of care, one that is evidence-based and patient-centric. Connected healthcare seems to bring solutions to both these problems, and what’s better, it looks simple!
The increasing adoption of the ubiquitous wellness devices and associated mobile apps, and the influx of the wirelessly connected medical devices, create endless possibilities to bridge the gap of the perceived healthiness index. While the leaps in technology and its adoption is exciting, the biggest win for the healthcare industry is the transformation to empower people with their own care.
When people are in control of their own health data, early trends indicate that their responsibility toward the management of their own care increases. Today, there are devices, mobile apps, and ecosystems that can help patients plan preventive measures, track their progress, and take an informed decision on when to consult the doctor. This is also helping ease the burden on the system. The physicians, providers, and hospital systems can drive better operational efficiencies and provide higher quality of care if patients take on more responsibilities.
A pilot was launched in the US in February 2016 where two US federal organizations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC), allowed patients to access their own health data and volunteer to send it to researchers who worked on precision medicine treatments. We can already see evidence of people taking more control of their healthcare systems, data, and decisive outcomes that can drive better living and healthy lifestyles.
There are serious concerns of data pilferage and malpractices, leading to some grave consequences2. While the debate on data privacy, risks, and regulations continues3, a carefully planned and connected healthcare industry can do wonder, both on the general well-being of the population and the healthcare systems’ rising costs.
So, the next time you want to do a quick health check, reach out to your wearables, apps, and other tech devices and take charge of your own health…you will be doing yourself and the healthcare industry a world of good!