Sunday, February 23, 2014

Digital Medicine is Within Reach

As I read the Digital Medicine article, it struck me how potentially inter-connected a nationalized healthcare system and the digititalization of medicine could be.  The article states this "digitalization of medicine will personalize health care [in that] treatment will be tailored to each person as a unique individual suffering a unique illness according to his or her genetic makeup."  In reality it would make great strides in reducing our health care costs.  It is well known that prevention is the best medicine, (e.g. "well child visits" are less expensive than "sick child visits").  Digital medicine positions us to take effective proactive measures in caring for ourselves vice the reactive measures we normally employ, moving the approach to "true health care."

With the CDC online providing up to date, even real-time, information about the emerging threats of illnesses, viruses, and infectious diseases, today's smart phones can integrate this data with the personal information and determine imminent threats to individuals -- and get that information to the individuals -- far more effective communication to incent preventative action.

Another corollary I drew was the personalized care the digitalization would enable.  The article purports that we will move to treating illnesses based on the individual patient vice "therapy based on population statistics"  or similar symptoms. Giving patients generic treatments that end up not working only increases the cost of health care.  In our efforts to reduce the cost of health insurance by spreading the cost as we include healthy individuals (thereby reducing adverse selection), we may not realize that the best approach may be to effectively treat illnesses with targeted medicine, and even prevent illnesses based on individual's DNA.

Very interesting article with far-reaching ramifications -- food for thought.  Keep in mind, laughter is truly the BEST medicine.  


Jay Zee

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