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HealthCare 2020 October 5, 2008

Posted by Who? in Business, Health, Lifestyle Design, Politics, Random, technology.
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What will healthcare look like in 2020?  2020? That’s way out in the future; we’ll probably have Jetson brand pill dispensers in our homes by then. But think about that for a second-that’s barely more than a decade away.  We might not have the pill dispensers, but one thing is for sure- things will be different. Step back 10 years- could you imagine a company not only caring about but paying for you to invest in your health?  Last fall, The Boeing Company encouraged employees to take a Health Risk Assessment and they offered a $50 gift certificate to all that participated.  Over 100,000 people partcipated.  This year, less than a month into the event, over 35,000 people have taken the Assessment and received almost $2 million in gift certificates. 

So let’s start there, healthcare is changing.  From the ways that we seek and consume info and services to the way that we view our role in partcipating in our health and paying for those services.  No matter the outcome on November 4th, 2008, things will be different.

Changing Consumption: Information and Services

The internet is changing the way consumers seek information and this includes health related info.  Three months ago I injured my wrist playing basketball.  You can guess what I did next, right?  I taped it up and finished playing- (It was a close game!!).  But—when I got home that night and my wrist completely locked up after I took the tape off, I got online and Googled something along the lines of “how to tell if your wrist is broken”.  Ended up on WebMD and later found myself at the ER.  That process is very interesting when you think about it and it represents one of the ways that healthcare has and will continue to change.  Without even realizing it, I did a prelimary examination.  I wanted to know if my wrist was broken.  Where do I go when I want information?  Google.  Medical information is no longer solely possessed and distributed by doctors and nurses AND the methods of distribution are changing.  Last week, Charlotte wrote about “telemedicine” in her post “Everything But Touch and Smell“. 

Changing Perspectives

People and even companies are changing the way that they participate in healthcare.  Boeing is just one example.  Not only have they talked the talk, but they have backed it up.  Big company or not, two-million dollars is a lot of money.  Think about that.  Attitudes are shifting from treating symptons and injuries towards wellness, lifestyle and prevention.  Not everyone is going to jump on the Wellness Bandwagon, but it will be a part of the paradigm shift.  The industry, operations and practices have to change; I spent 6 hours in the ER only to have a Physician’s Assistant refer me to my primary-care physician.  You can be sure that next time, that hospital won’t be getting my business.  And that is the key- healthcare is a business.  The table is set for innovators to come in and “wow” consumers with quality, value and efficiency.

How will we get wellness and medical information in 2020?  What will the doctor’s office, wellness center and hospital of the future look like?  Where will it be located?  How will it flow and operate?  Who will the cost-structure look like?  What the system will look like in the future is almost beside the point; the important part is that it will be different and, with the right ideas, better.

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Comments»

1. Lala Weasel McWeaselson - October 7, 2008

One can only imagine the consequences of people turning to the internet to self diagnose…

On the one end, you know your body best- and how many times have doctors overlooked something or misdiagnosed?

I can also foresee people not seeking professional medical care when they truly need it, or misdiagnosing themselves and winding up more sick then they were.

I predict the positives will outweigh the negatives though. At the very least, people who can’t afford medical care and check ups can access the internet (for free) and have valuable information regarding their health. Who knows?

This trend might also steer people toward natural remedies and taking care of the body- instead of contributing to the giant drug companies after their health is already in decline. Perhaps people will learn more about preventative health???


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