Will An App A Day Keep The Doctor Away?
With a big assist from technology, Americans are driving a major transformation of the nation’s health care system.
Recent years have brought us the passage of the Affordable Care Act, technology advances in sensors and devices, cheaper personal genomics, and the growth of the mobile app market. And all these things are empowering consumers to take control and become CEOs of their own health.
The rapid adoption of connected mobile devices is enabling the shift from a sickcare nation to a preventative care nation with big potential savings at stake.
This monumental shift in the way Americans approach health care comes just in the nick of time: as a nation, we badly need a kick in the behind.
More than two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese. According to one forecast, by 2020 more than half of us will be pre-diabetic or diabetic, creating a $500 billion annual drag on the economy.
But solutions are coming. And it starts with your mobile phone.
Before long, all of those devices will be sending real-time data about you to your doctors, nutritionists and trainers. Subjective medical findings will be bolstered by cold, hard stats on the continuous state of your health.
In short, we’re headed for a world of truly personalized medicine, practiced from a central hub in the cloud.
Today, mobile apps are already solving health problems and providing personalized advice and communities. It is early days but you can see the potential. Here are some examples:
HealthTap is creating a mobile “triage” system, where consumers can ask doctors questions and find out the most effective way to get specific care.
Diabetic? Welldoc recently rolled out BlueStar, a doctor-prescribed app that offers coaching.
Have asthma? Try the Asthmapolis sensor which passively logs your data via Bluetooth LE and gives you personalized feedback and education on how to control your asthma.
Having trouble getting pregnant? Glow will help you track your cycle and tell you the exact best time and how to get pregnant increasing your odds of success.
MyFitnessPal is teaching consumers a new way to track their nutritional intake and lose weight. Personal trainers will tell you nutrition is 80% of the battle in maintaining a healthy lifestyle that can ward off diabetes, heart disease – even cancer.
The core of the digital healthcare revolution will be day-to-day tracking of personal stats, also known as the quantified self. Many companies are trying to be this central health and fitness hub, including insurance companies.
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Pass it on: New Scientist