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Transforming Healthcare – A Baby Boomer’s Perspective

Transforming Healthcare – A Baby Boomer’s Perspective

By Susan Williams

recent article published by the Guardian shared some interesting new predictions about aging and health.

They stated that even though we are now living longer, these extra years we may now have been given may not necessarily be spent in the best of health.

Some of the research predicts;

“The trend will mean that men and women will suffer from four or more diseases for two-thirds of the extra life expectancy that people can look forward to gaining by 2035 – another 3.6 years for men and 2.9 years for women…”

If this prediction is correct, the need for healthcare services will sky rocket and cause major strains on already over stretched healthcare systems.

So if there ever was a time for transformation in healthcare, this is it.

I started to give some thought as to what transformations I think would benefit both the system and the patient and here’s a few ideas that I came up with;

Personalized Medications

FACT: Medication adherence is a major cost to the healthcare system.

In a New York Times article, they shared that “Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed,”.

This lack of adherence… is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year.

I think if we want to change this situation, we have to make the challenge of taking medication easier.

In an article in the Globe and Mail, they stated that “Two-thirds of Canadians over 65 have five or more different prescriptions, and one-quarter take 10 or more prescription drugs.

That’s certainly a lot of different medications to manage.

If I ever need to take more than one medication, I would like to have it custom made into a single “designer pill” made specifically for my medication needs rather than having to sort and manage multiple medications.

To take this idea even one step further – what would be even better is to have the medication provided in some format of auto delivery so that I don’t even have to be concerned about whether or not I took it.

Wearable Healthcare Technologies

Currently, I get things checked either at my annual physical or when I need to see my doctor for something that is bothering me. It’s usually a reactive approach versus a more preventive approach.

For my health and peace of mind, I would be more than willing to wear some form of technology that would monitor and report to my physician my vitals on a regular basis. I think there’s great value in being alerted when / if there was an issue that needed to be addressed before it becomes a major problem.

For example, it’s estimated that the medical costs for someone with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than someone who doesn’t have it. So if someone was at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes and a prevention plan was developed and monitored through some form of wearable technology, this could not only help the individual but also possibly reduce the potential for increased health costs down the line.

Control and Management of My Own Electronic Medical Records

I think we need a higher level of transparency and allow patients to see and manage their own medical records and results.

Ideally, I would like to see medical records on a shared platform that allows my medical information to be shared across all medical and health fields. Optometrists, pharmacists, dentists, physicians – I would like to have the ability to grant them access to my records to ensure that I have optimal care based on shared knowledge of my personal situation.

Nutritional Services

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.  Hippocrates

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease – this list goes on and on as to what impact food can have on our health. I think we don’t pay nearly enough attention to this within our healthcare system. And it’s no wonder. Our physicians barely have time to treat the ailments that we come in to see them about never mind discussing the foods that we are eating.

If we could find some (easy) way to integrate healthy food planning into part of our overall healthcare system along with supporting tools and ongoing nutritional coaching, I think this particular focus on prevention could pay back some amazing dividends.

My Own Healthcare Dashboard

To wrap everything together, I think a healthcare dashboard that integrates all our healthcare services and needs would be extremely valuable.

Appointments, healthcare records, test results, fitness reports, nutritional needs – all located in one place and integrated with the healthcare system and services itself.

There are already a number of tools / apps available that provide these platforms but the challenge is they are all separate. I would like to see something like this actually integrated in a single place and able to communicate with my healthcare providers tools.

My physician, pharmacist, optometrist, dentist, nutritionist, fitness trainer and any other specialists would be able to access the same medical records, test results and history and communicate with me as well as my other health service providers.

So, there’s just a few thoughts about what I would like to see to help transform the healthcare experience.

I think the more we empower ourselves and focus on prevention and developing partnerships and solutions with the people that help care for us, the better our overall outcomes will be with the added bonus of potentially keeping our healthcare costs down.

Whether it is something like this or something completely different – one thing is for sure.

We need to transform our healthcare system – the old one just won’t sustain what is about to land on the doorstep.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.