Want an optimistic look at the future of healthcare? Big believer in the power of technology to better lives? Then I highly suggest you check out this book.
Authors Rohit Bhargava, who advises global healthcare brands on communication strategy, and Fard Johnmar, a digital health futurist and researcher, combine extensive research with insights from pioneers of the digital health movement in the easy-to-read, well-organized book ePATIENT 2015: 15 Surprising Trends Changing Health Care (2014, 219 pages).
Findings are broken into three themes:
(1) Health Hyperefficiency– How Technology and Computing are Making Health Care More Efficient, Safe and Effective;
(2) The Personalized Health Movement – How Technology is Helping Health Become More Individualized and Relevant to People’s Needs; and
(3) Digital Peer-to-Peer Health Care – How Digital Tools are Enabling Enhanced Collaboration and Peer Support.
For each of the themes, there are three to nine of the 15 trends. For each trend, the authors give a brief overview, share stories that give real-life examples of the trend, and report results of recent surveys of ePatients.
As the husband of a cancer thriver, I found two trends particularly appealing:
“Trend 13 – Virtual Counseling. People are using online tools to seek and forge one-on-one relationships and offer virtual logistical and emotional support. This can include helping others to navigate the new health-insurance landscape, “sponsoring, ” or counseling one another and providing unique knowledge about conditions, ailments, and caregiving. – Page 165
“Trend 14 – CareHacking. As patient health data becomes more widely available and the number of caregivers managing medical care for family members increases, digitally savvy health consumers will leverage the information they gain from doctors, the Web, and other sources to better ‘hack’ the health system to educate themselves, navigate loopholes, find more efficiencies, and ultimately get better, lower-cost and faster care for themselves and those they love.” –Page 171
In the introduction, the authors offer scenarios of how patients handle common health situations now – and how they will in the near future, when technology advances. The first involves the mother of a 3-year-old who has a fever; the second, a man who learns he has lung cancer. I won’t spoil the stories. They’re facinating.
The up-front stories are worth a read, even if you don’t want to go further… but, trust me, you will.
Disclaimer: I received a free preview copy of the book.