MUSING – The Healthcare Solution: Looking in All the Wrong Places
Aging boomers provide the catalyst for a more aggressive consumer participant approach to their health. The Internet gave them the perfect tool to accomplish this task. The first step, which has already occurred, was to populate the Internet with all known medical information. In an escalating number of cases, the healthcare consumer may know more about their ailment (particularly the more unusual afflictions) than their family physician.
The second step is massive consumer engagement with this information – reading it, talking to others, digesting the information, seeing what works and then reporting on it. Hundreds of millions of consumers are now actively participating in their personal health maintenance. This massive amount of involvement is leading to an ‘artificial intelligence’ of what works and what doesn’t. Already these ‘Rosetta Stones’ of healthcare are emerging online, where the price of admission is free.
Will healthcare reach a point where the family doctor is completely removed as an intermediary? Self diagnosis, access to unlimited healthcare information via the Internet, and lab tests (without a doctor’s prescription), certainly seem to be leading us there.
Maybe we have been looking in the wrong places for a solution to the greatest economic challenge facing America. A revised, more contemporary Hippocratic Oath (penned in 1964) that is directed to new physicians states, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.” Today’s consumers seem to understand the wisdom in these words and have adopted them for their own.