Health Technology & You
New trends in health care and emerging health technologies are focusing on improving patient safety and providing more in-depth, personal health information to the patient. By utilizing these new technologies health care in the future will become more preventative, predictive, and personal.
To alleviate the stresses placed on the health care system recently by the pandemic, and increasingly by the influx of baby-boomers, health care will need to focus more on prevention. Preventative health care keeps us healthier for longer by optimizing wellness before we become ill, rather than focusing on treatment once we’re already sick. By improving diet, getting more and higher quality sleep, exercising more frequently, and reducing negative stressors, we can reduce our likelihood of chronic disease, thereby reducing our reliance on the health care system.
The methods for improving diet, sleep and exercise and for lowering stress will be quite different for different people. These messages still need to be broadcast to the widest audience. Promoting a specific drug product for a specific health condition targeted at people who are already sick is reactive, not preventative. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” will need to guide health care in the future.
The second trend in health care is the rise of predictive technologies. These technologies allow health care providers to detect health problems for patients before they become “full blown”. This trend includes improvements in imaging, screening, and even using health data to show where health issues are most likely to occur in the future. The knowledge that care providers gain from these advances will help patients avoid major health issues with early interventions.
The final trend in medical technology is the personalization of medicine. This could include things like genetic testing to determine which drug matches best with a patient’s specific genetic makeup. In a sense, your medication becomes personalized when your doctor avoids prescribing certain drugs for you because of allergy or the potential for interactions with other medication. This personalization is only going to increase further in the future, as the task of finding the right medicine for you will be helped by the growing amount of information about you as an individual, including your genetics.
Here are examples of some of the more popular health technologies that can help you achieve optimal health:
Combining the familiarity of the Medic Alert bracelet with the power of the internet, Emergency ID allows patients to keep all of their health care information secure in one place, updated, and readily available to paramedics in an emergency. A trend in prevention.
Wearable Health Tracking Devices
Watches, continuous glucose monitors, and pulse oximeters can track sleep data, heart monitoring, blood oxygen and glucose, exercise and more, providing information, motivation, and fun. A trend in prevention and prediction.
The new possibility of ordering a pharmacogenomic test to help your health care team guide your drug therapy. A trend in personalization.
For a more in-depth explanation or demonstration of some of these new technologies, talk to your pharmacist or visit Home Health Care Pharmacy.
Mark Mercure is certified by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties in Geriatric Pharmacy and is the owner/manager of Home Health Care Pharmacy. He specializes in providing comprehensive medication reviews which help patients optimize medication use and avoid drug-related issues.