In the United States, baby boomers are getting set to retire at an exponential rate. We are talking about an astounding rate of over 13,000 individuals a day who have put in their time and are now set to retire. While in the background, we also see an influx of wait times in medical centres, clinics and hospitals due to short staffing. The baby boomer generation will require huge capital expenditures to the current health infrastructure that simply is too large for any nation to support.
Luckily not all is lost. There are technology platforms and health apps readily available. These can help us to educate people about the benefits of nutrition, sleep, medical adherence through reminders and physical activity. They can all be classified under the umbrella term “self-care” or “preventative medicine”. These are things you can do to preserve or improve your own health. Self-care is a practise that will become vital as time goes on around the world as capital expenditures required are just too great.
Leading diseases such as cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, diabetes and others are considered preventable to an extent. In the US over 400,000 people die each year due to poor health and sedentary lifestyle (see this post by NCBI). If we take into account preventable deaths, technology advances and monetary costs, it is no wonder the adoption of modern solutions are gaining a lot of investment capital in the form of apps.
Self-Care and Preventative Medicine Apps
Start-ups are launching that help patients learn to meditate from home. Becoming a meditation master, without needing to do anything but sit there and listen is now becoming a billion-dollar industry. New apps provide users with feedback on the progress of their diets based on macro and micronutrient counts and provide sample recipes. Then there are also apps like CareClinic that can go through your health check-ins and provide correlations on what is working for your medical treatment and what isn’t. What a time to be alive!
Adoption of these technologies hasn’t come easily! For one it is very hard for payors, or providers to get behind these technologies. This is simply because many don’t classify as a “medical device” in the traditional sense. Secondly, with so many new apps and wearables coming to market it has become hard to determine which one to support and to keep up with all the functionality. The main reason for slow patient adoption is because they usually wait for their provider to recommend something, otherwise they may feel it is not necessary.
How These Preventative Medicine Apps Can Help
If you are a caregiver now or will need to be someone’s caregiver it perhaps may make sense for you to recommend apps for them to better self-manage their health so you don’t get inundated with caregiving. Simply improving medical adherence by 10% can have drastic effects on one’s health and can reduce doctor visits. Which in turn means, time saved, money saved and better health, a trifecta of refreshing goodness. A rare feat in the world of ongoing chronic conditions.
Apps are a good starting point for preventative medicine and self-care. Setting reminders, or keeping a health journal can go a long way in helping you track and manage your health. Although it is not a replacement for visiting a professional, even professionals will appreciate the effort you have put in to come in prepared with the right questions and objective data that can lead to better diagnosis and treatment.