New technologies by themselves cannot create more robust patient-provider partnerships. But, with a lot of ingenuity and thoughtful design, and a commitment to creating tools that help put patients more in charge of their health, technology can be a game changer.
We are in the early phases of the next big technology-driven revolution, the “consumer health.” When fully unleashed, it could radically cut health care costs and become a huge global growth market.
Researchers are designing and testing tools that offer patients real-time data about their own chronic health conditions that can then be easily conveyed to a health care provider, enabling coaching and communication practically on the spot.
It might sound glib to refer to primary care as a shared environment that can be tapped on an “as-needed basis,” thanks to a couple of smart phones, but in the health care world the best primary care will be transformed into something less like a single office visit and more like a daily engagement with one’s health goals, with expert advice available when necessary.
Recent history has shown that when the right cultural, technical and economic forces converge, people can transform fundamental aspects of society from the bottom up in a way that seemed impossible just a short time before. Such a time is NOW coming for health care.