The patient will see you now: Healthcare will soon be in YOUR hands 17



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Visiting a doctor in many surgeries and hospitals today you could be forgiven for wondering about who the service provider is? Are you servicing them with your presence or are they your service provider?  Time is upon us for this to change.

With the advent of the smartphone and emerging health apps, You, the patient, is about to regain the power over their own health thanks to technology and there has never been a more exciting or pressing time for that to happen to you, our ageing population.

Healthcare, though you might not yet be able to see it, is going to be removed from the time-wasting trips to the doctor, and replaced by a myriad of technological tools that communicate with your medical professional remotely aka – apps on your phone that talk to your doctor. These technologies that will sit in your smart devices will allow a doctor to check your physiology from a remote location, often without needing to you be there in person, giving them medical insight that is far richer than a stethoscope or blood pressure monitor.

This rich insight will allow for a smarter level of diagnosis, stopping doctors from having to refer you through legions of tests and scans to find out what is wrong. Instead, professionals will refer to genome maps to draw conclusions about biological risks, and refer to medical data on a patient that is truly holistic and historical, through comprehensive and universally shared online record keeping combined with real time health and wellbeing stats from that phone.

If we get this right, hospitals will become a much less-needed location required only for critical illness. Those with ongoing health issues will have their homes fully-0fitte with real time monitoring and treatment capability that links with your pharmacy, who will deliver to your door. Your doctors will monitor you remotely and prescribe to your needs in real time.

And when they prescribe it will be with the knowledge of your genetic markers that look at which drugs benefit your physiology better, reducing the risks of incorrect drug selection and side effects.

It is exciting that the ready-monitoring of your own wellbeing through the tools at your fingertips will allow you to present critical data to your medical professionals rather than wait for them to fit you into their calendar for diagnosis. Your health will be returned to your own control… And end the monopoly the medical institutions have over the sick.

All this might seem like rather a wild vision of healthcare from today, when we have to line up at a suburban surgery and wait our turn to be seen, demeaned then charged a fee plus a gap before being pushed to an overpriced pharmacy.

I was a representative at the Future Agenda of Ageing forum in Sydney last week, one of the focus areas of which was health technology and the insights shared among global leaders were impressive.

This is not an unreal expectation of what we could see in the lifetime of the baby boomer generation. In fact, with the release of the iphone and fitbit, our online ehealth record system modernisation that is underway, and the development of other health tracking systems like smart clothing and other items that are emerging it could be just around the corner.

Are you ready?

What do you think of the possibilities of change in the health industry with the advancements coming?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Sounds very interesting. Can’t quite imagine it but with the speed of change in technology I’m sure it will happen.

  2. We all have to get old,the only thing I really dread is to just have doctors appointments every week,test after test ,to find out the obvious old age!Having our childrens lives always interupted with our appointments,we all need help sometimes,but please don’t let me turn into one who is so much of a burden.

    2 REPLY
    • My mother was 88 when she died and she never had doctors appointments every week. I’m now 72 and I go to the doctor perhaps once every 5 months for a new script. Why would you think that getting older means you’ll have to go every week?

    • You are very lucky Rosemary and I know there are a lot of fit older people out there.I am just saying there are also many that I know,just get so excited about the outing to the doc,which I find terribly sad,just my opinion.

  3. ho’s been reading George Orwell’s 1984. Stand up daily for your ‘medication’. Where is that deserted tropical island I want to escape to?

  4. About time. I remember I was in hospital at 22 for long stay. I wandered over got my file to read. Well the fracus when I was caught!!!!! I said it’s mine they said no it was the docs. What a blue that was. They let me be cos I was getting too loud. Ha ha. On purpose.

  5. Will always need GP.
    Do need stethoscope and blood tests and physical examination.
    One would have to have good cognitive function to report on forms correctly.
    Tech is coming to be able to watch a person’s home if they have dementia who live alone and to use counseling services on line face to face for mental health issues in rural areas.
    Rural Dr’s will also be able to feed an ECG to a specialist for immediate readings.
    I think it will take quite a while to do it all.

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