Networking in health careToo many Americans find themselves too busy to be healthy. Parents, more concerned with providing care for their children and elderly parents, fail to see a doctor when they’re feeling under the weather. Others put in extra hours at Drugs Without Prescription the office instead of the gym. A recent article in Fast Company predicts that, going forward, health care needs will be better met through increased use of networked devices and social networking platforms.

To illustrate, the article tells the story of a typical working mother, overwhelmingly busy and often unable to address her own health:

At 39, Susan finds herself at the center of managing the health and wellness of her young family, her parents, and herself. While numerous tools on the market can help Susan do this, few are connected, the information they provide is confusing, and they’re often so difficult to use that they cost her time …

In an age of 24/7 connectivity that requires our near-constant vigilance, time feels more pressed than ever. Yet, it may be that the very technology allowing us this around-the-clock connection can transform how we manage our health.

Fortunately, we are at an inflection point in history both from a policy and technological perspective. Advances in wirelessly connected devices and social networking platforms will make the job of a “family health manager” much easier, more meaningful, and more effective.

The Fast Company article shows how wireless monitoring and communication devices could affect the future of health care:

  • Instead of annual checkups, real-time health data access can alert patients to changes in their health risk based on biometrics assessment and monitoring of weight, sleep pattterns, blood pressure, etc.
  • Major risks and abnormalities could be detected and sent to doctors, thanks to predictive health analytics, health information intelligence and data visualization. This could predict potential complications like a stroke or heart attack.
  • Information about health and behaviors could be collected via wireless scales and activity monitors. That data could be fed seamlessly into desktop software, Web applications and social networks.

Read the full article on the future of health care.

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