How can we Innovate to Improve Health Care
So I touched upon some the issues facing healthcare in the last post, now let’s talk about the some of the positive things happening and how we can innovate healthcare so that it’s more efficient, provides better outcomes, as well as costs less.
Technology and data can play a huge part in this, as I mentioned we have the technology to order food on our phones, email and view data right from our palms. Health Care has to take advantage of this technological progress to play an important role in providing the best care possible. Here are some basic tools and ideas of how this can be done as well as the challenges faced in implementing those ideas.
Smart tracking devices inform Health Care
Health technology like the FitBit, Apple Watch, scales, blood pressure monitors, and sleep trackers that connect and record data to your phone empowers people to take control of their own health. It can provide data on how you are functioning day to day to medical providers. This data can help assess your risk level for chronic diseases and what you can do everyday to improve your health so that you can establish better daily habits.
This, a resource to tap into for analyzing how activity and sleep is affecting the patient’s blood pressure, blood glucose levels and weight. While there are many improvements to be made, it can be part of a holistic health care plan. — This is where you would need data scientists to give you a picture of what this data means, because doctors do not have time to analyze the data themselves.
Doctors should know nutrition
Doctors spend years in school and they do not want more to study, but nutrition is something that has been glossed over yet remains extremely important. If nutrition wasn’t important to your health, people wouldn’t be dying from allergies, malnutrition or diabetes. Focusing on a person’s diet and nutrition has been found to have a positive effect on their health and overall well-being. Another way to tackle this issue is for a healthcare plan to include nutritionist consultations and investing more on preventing diseases.
Invest to prevent, rather than cure
Many of today’s biggest diseases can be prevented if we focus more attention on prevention vs curing, this is where the pharmaceutical and food industry plays it’s part. If fewer people have disease, fewer people will need medicine. We need to reform health care so that people are not suffering from diseases that are largely preventable. This requires a cohesive health plan with each part playing their role:
- A nutrition program for kids to better educate them and their parents on what to eat that rooted in real science and data.
- A healthcare plan that includes health coaches, nutritionist, doctors working together to insure people are staying healthy.
- Having people change their habits if they are poor or providing positive feedback if they are doing well.
- Using all the tools technology provides to better understand you patient on a individual level and being able to understand the data you get from these tools.
- A DNA test to determine how you tolerate food, what you are allergic too and are you predisposed to any conditions.
- A network of experts for second opinions, who are verified by data as having the best outcomes and are informed by the latest science.
Using technology in the Doctor’s office and Hospital
This means using tools that better workflows and rounding in hospitals so that you know what’s happening with each patient and it’s streamlined across all the providers in the hospital. An Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that’s simple to use and understand is crucial so that information can be passed easily and effectively. This will save money on re-admissions, medical errors, and negligence. You don’t want to spend time guessing what the doctor wrote about for a patient in critical condition.
This is something that I have experienced first-hand with my grandmother just last year. The doctor assumed when she walked that we had signed an do not resuscitate (DNR) and proceeding not to provide any care for her until we brought this issue up. If we had not, it’s very likely she would not have survived. Simple technological fixes in communication can go a long way in reducing healthcare costs and increases the quality of care.
It’s a difficult task, but we have to approach it with an open mind and willingness to accept change. I am a perfect example of what we are capable of as someone who is sitting and writing this post as a result of the innovation we have had in healthcare. So it’s possible, now lets figure out how.
I’ll offer up some more ideas as well as companies moving forward!