The Future of Health Care Is Social

Health care is a personal issue that has become wholly public—as the national debate over reforming our system makes painfully clear. But what's often lost in the gun-toting Town Hall debates about the issue is a clear vision about how medicine could work in the future. In this feature article, frog design uses its people-centered design discipline to show how elegant health and life science technology solutions will one day become a natural part of our behavior and lifestyle. What you see here is the result of frog's ongoing collaboration with health-care providers, insurers, employers, consumers, governments, and technology companies. You can join the conversation too: this Thursday October 8 at noon eastern, frog will hold a discussion about the future of health care on Twitter (follow the hash tag #futureofhealthcare). You can also download a .pdf version of this article from the last page. - Noah Robischon, editor.

Future of Health Care

Too busy to be healthy

Susan's life is full. That's a nice way of saying that she is frenetically, overwhelmingly busy—too busy, she sometimes jokes, to be healthy. She has a husband and two small children, a full-time job, and aging parents who rely on her for support. She also has two younger brothers and a community of friends both near and far that she keeps in touch with mostly online.

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—time she doesn't have.

Susan is not alone. Too many of us are too busy to be healthy—not because we lack awareness. We know what we need to do. It's finding the time to do it that's the problem. 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.

Future of Health Care

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.

In this outlook, we illustrate trends in networked devices and social networking platforms to project a future where Susan can tend to her family's varying health needs while still having time for herself.

Networked devices + connected people = healthier communities

Future of Health Care

Using networked devices and tapping into net works of people, Susan manages her own health and the health of her family. Her health-care team is comprised of her friends, her husband, her parents, her siblings, her pharmacists, her traditional health-care providers, along with online "friends" from around the world. This broad team, coupled with more personalized data collected from mobile phones, wireless health devices, and ongoing information exchanges, will lead to better health for her and her family. Susan no longer has to rely upon the infrequent office visit to yield health information; instead, she can draw from a steady stream of useful and personally relevant data, some of which may trigger the need for an office visit.

Future of Health Care

 

Wireless devices gather health data for us

Future of Health Care

Wireless monitoring and communication devices are becoming a part of our everyday lives. Integrated into our daily activities, these devices unobtrusively collect information for us. For example, instead of doing an annual health checkup (i.e. cardiac risk assessment), near real-time health data access can be used to provide rolling assessments and alert patients of changes to their health risk based on biometrics assessment and monitoring (blood pressure, weight, sleep etc). With predictive health analytics, health information intelligence, and data visualization, major risks or abnormalities can be detected and sent to the doctor, possibly preempting complications such as stroke, heart attack, or kidney disease. Wireless scales and activity monitors gather information about our health and behaviors and feed seamlessly into desktop software, Web applications, and social networks.

Future of Health Care

While much work remains to be done to connect these devices and the data they generate in universal and interchangeable ways, there are standards evolving to ensure that the data will speak the same language, that the algorithms, analytics, and data output are validated, and that the collective potential of these devices will paint a truly holistic picture. Similarly, increasing adoption of open identification and authentication standards are early indicators of a truly portable and accessible social interchange upon which a secured personal health-care network can emerge. Users like Susan will depend on governed levels of access to protect their privacy while leveraging the support and power of many to manage their family's health.

Reaping emotional and physical benefits from social interactivity

Future of Health Care

Susan's father is forgetting things, the kind of forgetting that Susan can no longer chalk up to "just being dad." Susan's parents still live in the house where she grew up, but many of their friends have moved away. Susan herself has moved a few hours away, so it's hard for her to visit her parents often. She learned that initial memory loss can be slowed through mental stimulation, so she began scheduling a weekly "virtual Scrabble" date with her dad to help keep his mind challenged and acute. She bought her dad a physical Scrabble set with wireless sensors and low-power e-ink displays, and they use the same connected TV that enables video calls. It's almost as if they are playing in the same room. The games make her dad laugh, and he can see her kids as they jump around and say hello. After the game, Susan catches up with him and her mom about how they are feeling and what they are doing. Sometimes, she learns more from what she sees in their appearance or expressions than from what they say.

Future of Health Care

Susan and her parents are socially engaged in ways that researchers may not have even imagined a decade ago. Research has shown that greater social engagement helps people live longer, healthier lives. More studies are needed to determine the health benefits of "virtual" social engagement, but based on myriad studies pointing to improved health outcomes for people with larger social communities, it is plausible that social engagement of any kind—even the virtual kind—is better than isolation. With the advent of social networking and video conferencing, we can now stay in touch with more people, including strangers who share a common interest or illness. As we age, these connections are increasingly important to our mental, emotional, and physical well being.

This social engagement and active monitoring provides Susan some peace of mind and helps her and her parents remain independent for longer. Products such as GE's Quiet Care and Intel's Health Guide monitor and connect people and provide a way to remotely manage their care. They also provide a way to save time and money by reducing office visits and avoiding costly emergencies.

Broadening the health-care team and improving the dynamics

Future of Health Care

Even when we do our best to stay healthy, we still get sick. Coping with sickness in our already hectic lives can be challenging. In addition to looking out for her parents, Susan manages the health of her two kids, her husband, and herself, and she looks for ways to save time and money while still getting the care that they need. Recently, for example, Susan's son woke up with a sore throat and a fever. She used an at-home strep test to rub a swab of her son's throat culture onto a card. Within minutes, the test results confirmed her son had strep. Through an embedded RFID sensor within the card, the test results were wirelessly transmitted to her computer's reader. On her computer, she was prompted to connect the incoming test results to her son's personal health record. Next, she used her personal health network to book the earliest visit for her son within a 10-mile vicinity. Susan elected to electronically send her son's strep results in advance of her appointment, allowing the receiving retail clinic to accelerate her visit by pre-issuing an e-prescription. Before leaving her computer, Susan selected her son's classroom network, comprised of his teacher and the parents of other students, and sent out a message that her son had strep throat and would be home for the next several days.

Future of Health Care

After Susan and her son visited the clinic she picked up her son's prescription. While she was there, Susan purchased a quick knee scan guided by the on-site nurse, because her knee has been bothering her. She opted to authenticate and connect the results automatically to her personal health record.

Future of Health Care

In another scenario, using similar technology such as geographic positioning, ratings, and calendar availability, Susan could have scheduled an appointment with of a local family doctor who makes house calls. The doctor would have been able to electronically respond to Susan's inquiries about her child's health, and the communication thread would have been stored in her child's health-care record. A reminder for a needed immunization would have been received through her general message inbox, the appointment scheduled based on her availability and the event added to her record.

Future of Health Care

The technological advancements in networked devices and personal health networks are enlarging health-care teams and changing way health care is delivered. Research and clinical studies by companies like Qualcomm and West Wireless Health, GE, and Intel, to name a few, are yielding new medical technologies in the areas of screening, monitoring, and RFID among others. These developments require substantial innovation, validation, and adoption of a standardized, security backbone that providers can trust with their patient's data and that patients can trust to allow them consistent access to their medical histories.

Future of Health Care

With self-diagnostics, automated schedulers, and e-prescriptions, health care will become more efficient for common maladies and will not entail hours of waiting and frustration. Retail clinics will offer flexible, cost effective, and immediate options when the family doctor is unavailable. Patient results and data will stream into a consolidated health-care record that patients and health-care providers can access and view from any location. And for people like Susan, this offers more efficient access to the information and services she needs as well as potential cost savings.

Making sense of the numbers—learning over time

Future of Health Care

When Susan's doctor first told her that she was at risk for developing melanoma, she was so frightened that she forgot everything he said as soon as she walked out of his office. When she got home, her personal health-care record was updated from the doctor's visit with the melanoma risk information and a list of suggested resources. Susan learned about tools to help monitor her health including a Smart Mirror. Connected to the family network through fingerprint identification, the Smart Mirror syncs to that family member's personal health record.

Future of Health Care

Every morning, Susan puts her hand on the mirror, which captures her vital signs. Connected to her personal health record, the mirror also reminds her of the medications she needs to take every day. Bi-weekly, she also uses the mirror to scan her skin, and any moles and other marks found are tracked for abnormal growth or color changes. The data is pushed to her protected record, from which it can be accessed and reviewed during visits with her primary care doctor and dermatologist. Trending analysis can be performed against her data, which can alert Susan and her health-care team to concerns.

Future of Health Care

The availability and interpretation of the data over time will empower us to self-manage our wellness or chronic conditions by putting the information and tools at our fingertips. Large amounts of data can be overwhelming, but when that data is interpreted, personalized, and fit into evolving trends such as nutritional habits, sleep patterns, or blood pressure measurement, or when these are compared with family or friends, it can be immensely informative. When coupled with clinical algorithms to process the data, these devices reveal insights about patterns, cause and effect, and the impact of health and lifestyle choices that we make. Visualizing and manipulating this kind of information creates "aha!" moments that may otherwise have gone undetected. We have a daily view into our health and the choices we make as part of a larger context. It also encourages an ongoing dialogue with our friends and our larger health-care "team."

Finding meaning and strength—learning via large groups

Future of Health Care

Swapping health-care stories among family and friends is common. This used to be done in small, local communities, and with only a few people. People with rare conditions struggled to find information about their ailments and others with the same condition. Now Susan can interact with family and friends and thousands of people across the globe, finding similarities and differences among a huge group of people. This can pose risks, but community health sites and shared personal health records offer a new frontier of medical discovery and patient support, allowing data collection and data sharing across the population. This can provide opportunities for opt-in research and trending benefits for disease prevention, monitoring, and treatments. It can also yield human-centered responses to sharing, collaborating, and finding meaning and strength in numbers.

PatientsLikeMe, an online patient community network, has a typical privacy policy, but it also has an "openness philosophy" that states, "When patients share real-world data, collaboration on a global scale becomes possible. New treatments become possible. Most importantly, change becomes possible." This community and its openness embody the philosophy of health care in the future: We have much to gain from information and from each other.

Beyond the emotional support Susan gets from sharing parts of her health record with a community of people, she is also learning about her health statistics and her habits by comparing them to those of other people. For example, because she is at risk for diabetes, she has recently started tracking her meals by taking photographs from her mobile phone and uploading them to a service that helps her measure caloric counts and nutritional values. As she evaluates her food choices and other health indicators, she compares them to those of other people of her age with similar lifestyles. She is surprised to learn that her portion sizes are much larger than those of her peers and that she eats more prepared foods than most people.

Future of Health Care

With the help of her health concierge, an online personal coach that she accesses through her health plan, and others in her network, she creates a meal plan with recipes and portions to help her stay on track with her diet.

The service also provides a "shopping assistant" that helps Susan make healthy choices at the point of purchase. Using her phone, Susan quickly scans products to see if they fit her meal plan, and a simple "red light" or "green light" guides her selections.

Future of Health Care

Beyond the value and efficiencies Susan gains from this assistance, she can also opt to have specific types of data such as her nutrition, weight, and blood pressure anonymously shared with the medical research community for research and trending analysis. The extrapolation of multiple data points across large groups of people can hasten the pace of medical discoveries and knowledge, and can also foster dialogue between scientists and patients to discern and validate emerging insights. Facilitated by technology, this exchange of information can provide relevant and personalized guidance for Susan and her family. Instead of browsing health magazines and researching online for credible and relevant information, Susan and her family can have a vast pool of information tailored to their own health conditions and coordinated with their own unique trending patterns. This saves Susan time while allowing her to be proactive and informed.

Monitoring how we are doing may actually change what we are doing

Future of Health Care

After learning of her health risks from her doctor, Susan vows to pay more attention to what she eats and to get more exercise. She has set these goals for herself before as New Year's resolutions, but she hasn't been successful. This time, it's different. She has easy-to-use tools that help her track, share, and compare her progress with a wide community of people.

Although she never imagined it could happen, Susan has become addicted to morning jogs. It's her time to relax, to listen to music, and to recharge. She especially enjoys jogging with her friend twice a week and catching up. Though her friend lives out of state, the two use their mobile devices and sensors to keep real-time pace with each other, listen to the same songs, and even chat when they're not out of breath. After her jog, Susan's mobile device guides her to do appropriate stretches based on her personal profile, including the knee-scan results recently sent from the clinic.

Future of Health Care

Knowing that she is running with a friend, even virtually, helps Susan get out the door to do it. And knowing that she is tracking her progress, pace, and distance without any effort on her part, Susan feels motivated to stay with her routine and try harder. She loves the encouragement she gets from her friends and from observing their progress as they work towards their goals.

Future of Health Care

The tools and technology may be new, but the natural instinct to respond more strongly when you are being observed is not. Studies have long shown that people change their behavior simply because they are being observed. This is based on both a desire for reward as well as fear of punishment. We have seen evidence of this in the huge success of Nike+, with its sensors and online community of runners. Another example is FitBit, which tracks activity and sleep and offers the ability to share collaborative fitness goals with friends, family, and co-workers. Connecting these monitoring devices to communities of people offers social support, peer pressure, and competition to encourage people to change their behavior.

Connecting people and devices for better health outcomes

As the "family health manager" for her parents, children, husband, and herself, Susan plays a central role in managing the health choices, budgets, and care of her family. Today, this involves a considerable amount of time and expense in dealing with disparate systems, various health plans, different geographic locations, and incomplete information.

In the future, Susan will be able to manage much of this from her home and mobile phone—a convenience that not only saves her time and money, but also gives her peace of mind. With the wireless monitoring devices and community networks, she will have access to more tailored and complete information to assist her in making the best health and financial choices. Ongoing management and awareness also helps prevent costly, time consuming, and perhaps life-threatening emergencies for her and her family.

Future of Health Care

Continuous versus episodic monitoring of health can lead to better health outcomes. Periodic visits to the doctor, which are often rushed and focused only on an immediate, pressing issue, may not be enough. Technology allows us to keep watch more closely, leading to more timely and holistically informed health decisions. The devices and the online communities act as a vigilant safety net, making us feel less alone, more empowered, and safer as we navigate the complex world of health. The trajectories in networked health devices and social networking will help people like Susan lead more independent, healthier lives. They are converging to create a new frontier in health care. Collecting health data from mobile applications, embedded sensors, or other devices offers convenient and personalized information to help people manage their health over time. With clinically based algorithms, data visualization, and community sharing, we will receive not just more information, but more meaningful and timely information that is channeled better to improve our health.

Written by:

Jennifer Kilian
Creative Director, frog design
Barbara Pantuso
Director of Health Care Innovation, frog design

Download the Future of Health Care Is Social PDF

 

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31 Comments

  • Tom Patterson

    I absolutely agree with the poster above who compared the conservative person as a checks and balance for the progressive. This works both ways. It takes all types. Go figure. As for the future of health care being social, this is true in my personal experience. My involvement in social networks has led to the inspiration to quit smoking, eat right, exercise, go green, use an air purifier, so on and so forth.

  • Nick Cope

    I have no idea why Fast Company chose to frame this article the way they did. The real subject, the concept work by Frog, is now lost in reaction to the first few lines of the article. The concept work is in my view pretty pedestrian stuff anyway, but I'm still surprised at FC's ridiculous angle.

  • Pan Osiris

    Kandi, Kandi, Kandi...it is not about Town Hall Attendees being stupid or wrong, rather it is about them arriving uninformed and angry. If one gets the bulk of one's info from any one source (Faux News??) then one is unqualified to enter debate. The old adage about having a battle of wits with an unarmed man comes to mind.

    By the way, if you went for Barack over Hillary, you got just exactly what you asked for...an empty suit held up by Wall Street, Big Pharma, and Big Coal.

    As I said often during the primaries, "We've had 220 years of motherf*#ers, it's time for a mother." I still hold that truth to be self evident.

  • Paul Fountaine

    Claiming you are too busy to be healthy is ridiculous. It takes no more time to be healthy than it does to be unhealthy. Your Utopian view is cute, but sadly will likely mirror the Jetson's in terms of reality - I am still waiting for my hovercraft. Heck, my doctors and their offices don't even use e-mail.

    Taking pot shots at what may arguably be near 50% of our country in your first paragraph is counter-productive and makes me trust your article less, as you clearly have a bias against my personal beliefs.

    As an aside, to think DC has any answers is not only ignorant it's silly. These clowns on all sides have or are running the most prosperous nation in the world into the ground. They have bankrupted Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security having spend the money we paid in, and some want to trust these imbeciles with more money and control?

    Doctors are already running away from these government programs due to the restrictions, low reimbursement and maddening paperwork, and you think throwing 30 million more people in the system will help?

    There are plenty of studies showing having health insurance doesn't make you any healthier - it just taxes the system with more and more unnecessary tests from the uninformed and the hypochondriacs.

    Our health is and should be mostly our own business, and I for one would like our

  • Buckley Brinkman

    It appears that much of the discussion is around technology and policy. Even more impoortant is the work being done by individuals in ad hoc networks, using the social media tools already in place to change health care practices. Groups formed around specific ailments and conditions have started to transform the way we look at medicine -- not as the responsibility of professionals, but rather each one of us.

    By voluntarily sharing medical records and treatments, great progress has been made in both research and treatments. Research benefits because the voluntary data can be collected in real time across a wider group of patients. This enables scientists to base their conclusions on a wider set of data. Treatments benefit because individuals can identify "micro-treatments" that pertain to a small subset of the population. Regimens, drugs, or dosages efficacies may be explored across more specific situations, leading to breakthrough treatments.

    The "Gee Whiz" isn't in the technology or policy moves. It's still about the people!

  • Greg Steggerda

    This whole debate reminds me of what Patrick Lencioni said about human nature: We ascribe the bad behavior of others to their bad character, while our own bad behavior we say is caused by our enviornment. Conversely, when others succeed we say it was due to their environment while when we do well its due to our own good character. Nothing in health care will be fixed until we get past that distrust.

  • Daryle Hier

    So you brought back this pap from last year but nothing has changed. The article and result is still the same; socialized healthcare has, is and will forever be a failure because you don't put the emphasis on reform.

    The current "healthcut" bill passed by Congress does one thing - it puts government in control. Otherwise, it will make healthcare for those you can't afford it, more expenses (& for that matter those who can afford it, costs will go up too) and it takes away private citizens rights. Of course, again, that's what this was all about to begin with; control, not healthcare. And anyone who believes there's any good to come out of progressives socialized power grab, you are very naive. Big Brother is here.

  • david waxman

    fantastic article! great job of illustrating how all these health 2.0 technologies will work together to create a truly end to end health solution. it will take some time, but the initial pieces are in place and the capital is being invested to develop the infrastructure. i think if the consumer can be educated on the advantages (like this article did such a good job of) they will press for change.
    david waxman
    co-founder, VITA products, inc.
    www.vitaband.net

  • Robin Tucker

    How many user-centered designers have racial/ethnic diversity on their design teams? How about Frog Design? How can you design anything, especially healthcare without truly understanding the cultural dimensions. And you can't get that from reading a book or a research report. You've got to live it. I challenger your Blogger's to anwser how they incorporate African Americans, Latinos, Hispanics (they are different), Chicanos, Southeast Asians, Chinese, Japanese perspectives in their user-centered design process.

  • Kristian Bluff

    So here we have a people centered design approach resulting in a "one gadget fits all" solution. The end result is way off target. The Medtech industry, design consultants included, should be focusing their efforts on the needs of people who are unable to afford even the most basic treatment. This means making healthcare accessible, equipment affordable and time for care. A user centered approach must take into account the many different types of user profiles and not just guess that "Susan" is both thee buyer, thee carer and thee patient.

  • Dwayne King

    Umm, wow. Are you people really this nuts, or are you making these comments in jest?

    I don't want to speak for the authors, but I think they were trying to say the conversation about how to actually improve healthcare is being lost in politics (I'm guessing they may even think politicking on the left and right is clouding a real discussion about how to improve healthcare). Rather than behaving as adults and discussing the merits of the proposed solutions, you go off on some whack-job rants about socialism, lobbying, etc.

    Sorry to interrupt the crazy talk, proceed...

  • pauldixey

    So why is Susan doing all of this with little or no involvement from her husband? Why can't men "tend to (his) family's varying health needs while still having time for (him)self" ?

  • Ken Accardi

    Thank you to Jennifer and Barbara for starting a terrific and important discussion! This sets a vision which will transform our lives and our healthcare, and also lead to significant entrepreneurship (that I'm sure will be a key focus in FastCompany for years to come).

    Ultimately, reforming care will require more ownership and individual accountability and will be greatly aided by technologies including the internet, smart phones and smart devices to help monitor our condition between visits to the hospital. Thanks to great advances in medicine, we no longer die from many conditions like diabetis, AIDS and certain cancers that would have killed our grandparents.

    Healthcare needs to go through a transformation like most all industries that start with expensive and centralized solutions practiced by experts, and ultimately become inexpensive and distributed do-it-yourself propositions. Just as communication went from the Western Union telegraph, to the home phone, to the cell phone, healthcare needs to move from the hospital to the home. This doesn't mean that the doctors will be out of business, but rather it means that they need to solve the really hard problems, while the Minute Clinc at CVS or the preventive care at home will take on more of a share of the easy stuff.

    The trickiest part of all of this is how to motivate people to take care of themselves, especially people who don't feel sick until something really bad happens. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smokers, and pre-diabetis basically feel fine from day to day until something goes wrong and then their life takes a big turn for the worse and the cost of their healthcare shoots through the roof. One suggestion I recently read was to have systems like the one described in this article be deployed by companies as part of the employee health benefits and to give more money (in the form of a health savings account) to those who use the system regularly. I don't want to get involved in the political debate over who pays for care, but I do strongly believe that if people have no costs or "skin in the game" that they won't step up and manage their own care.

    If you like this topic, I'd highly suggest that you read THE INNOVATOR'S PRESCRIPTION, by Clayton Christensen. This book very thoughfully lays out a plan that can ultimately reform health care.

    For my part, I'm working to develop technologies to improve the efficiency of home based care and to improve the coordination of care between patients, their "social networks" and their care-givers. You can check out what we're doing at www.ankota.com.

    --
    Ken Accardi
    CTO and Co-founder
    Ankota, Inc.
    www.ankota.com

  • Allen Wicklund

    I am totally offended at your "gun toting town hall meetings." There was not one single instance where guns were brought to one of these meetings. The majority of Americans, especially those of us who actually pay taxes, about the expense of this program. I have always enjoyed your magazine and now currently this weekly e-magazine. I will stop reading if you are just another arm of the Obama Media Propaganda Machine.

  • Julie Wainwright

    First, I applaud the authors for starting this discussion. Now, I'm going to add some stats to the discussion, with a general statement. The problem with our health care system is not just about the doctors and the insurers and the health care infrastructure. Much of our health issues are within our control. Unfortunately, we as collective individuals aren't stepping up to keep ourselves healthy. Here are the stats: Cardiac and heart related illnesses result in $470 Billion dollars of health care costs annually. Obesity costs $140 Billion dollars annually. Diabetes (which is sometimes related to obesity as are heart conditions) costs $70 billion in health care costs annually. These are the top three costs with obesity being the one with the fastest growth rate. There are estimates that over 50%--yep, 50%!, of all our health costs are preventable if individuals made better choices in their diet, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking cessation. So, in thinking about the health care crisis in our country, we first have to think about how we educate all of us, not just the ones who have technology readily available, to make better health choices every day. I think it starts with mandated nutrition classes and exercise in our schools. As for the recommendations of the authors, great vision, little chance of being implemented in my life time in a manner that positively impact health care costs. We have to start with the fundamentals while providing a road map to general better health that includes technology. I am reminded of a friend of mine who wanted to spread the use of technology in developing nations. What he found out is that people needed mosquito nets, clean water and food before they could even think about the internet. He went back to the basics and affected real change. We have to do the same.

  • Will Johnson

    Technology is here to stay folks and the health system does need reform on many levels. The insurance and drug lobbies are far too strong in this country and the voices of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, you know, those with actual medical jobs, don't carry enough weight. The system is out of balance. There has to be a combination of tort reform, insurance and pharm regulation and a focus more on preventative healthcare, rather than simply treating the symptoms of our collective unhealthy lifestyles. Additionally, like any business, our healthcare industry must use all the tools available to make it run as efficiently as possible, which means embracing technology (the point of this article, I believe). If we don't fix the system for those folks, so they can make the living worthy of their effort and education, then we're all sunk.

    Private or public options be damned, if the system isn't working for the doctors and those who are employed to care for us, it is in need of fixing. I'm not sure of all the answers, but I'd like to hear more from the REAL pros in the field and less from those in Washington OR those who get their opinions from whatever biased political pundits they choose to take direction from.

    Will Johnson
    www.TheRecruiter.com

  • Tabitha Evans

    You are possessed by the devil. You cannot hear yourselves spouting untruths. Seek an exorcist immediately.

    Please point me to any sentence in this article that describes a government-run program. The systems described here are separate technologies that could be assembled by an individual in the not-too-distant future. These systems WILL be promoted by private insurers to help them drive down the cost of your care and improve the quality of your life. There is no mention in this article of any government involvement.

    The other argument seems to be that gathering information about your personal health is a dangerous dependency on technology, and therefore cannot work. But what is the alternative, increasing dependence on medical professionals. I prefer a system that helps me gather and analyze my own information... and not have to wait for an inefficient expensive doctor visit, where by-the-way those medical professionals will use technology to diagnose me. The technology described here is a democratization of that technology.

    FYI, by contributing in this editorial response we are all willingly participating in a social process, comrade, just like the social processes described in the article.

  • Larry Mankins

    I, too, am concerned about the pejorative tone of the intro. Maybe I am just over-sensitive, having become part of the politically vocal "angry mob" for the first time in my adult life trying to prevent government from encroaching on every part of my existence. Frankly, we don't need the "help." The thing I keep coming back to is that the free market rewards creativity, speed to market and elegant simplicity....bureaucracies tend to reward, well...more bureaucracy. I actually would love to see some of these inventions in my lifetime...which essentially requires the bureaucracy to stay out of the way.

  • Larry Mankins

    Chris, It is not reform in and of itself that is being rejected, it is THIS reform. Expecting government to bring efficiency into the system ignores past experience with government. No one would accuse the government of being "lean" and "efficient." The current health care, health insurance (or whatever the current naming convention being used) is swatting a fly (uninsured Americans) with a sledge hammer, using our money and money the Feds are depending on from our kids. This is not the legacy I want to leave my kids....massive debt and less freedom than I/we enjoy. The Feds would do well to re-read the US Constitution again and stick to what the framers stipulated, and leave the rest to the people and the market. The innovations and creativity in the referenced piece depend on companies investing their own profits into new tools and solutions, not money taken from taxpayers....when did "profit"....even "wildly profitable" become a "bad" thing....November 2008?

  • Kenne Turner

    The article contains a lot of very creative ideas. However, for those of you concerned about the creative use of technology to help create healthier communities, not to worry. There are those in our society that will always question progress and see it socialistic conspiracy to take over our lives. I don't agree, but it might be a necessary form of checks & balance.