Healthcare took center stage again last week as the Obama administration’s healthcare law endured three days of questioning from the Supreme Court to determine if the insurance requirement mandate is unconstitutional. If so, it potentially puts the entire bill at risk. The healthcare industry, along with consumers, will watch closely as the June decision will have lasting implications on our future. But, regardless of your political persuasion, or opinion of Obama care, there is no doubt that the debate has forced an even bigger spotlight on our broken healthcare system.
Healthcare is personal. It’s one of the few political issues that go to the heart—quite literally—of Americans, not to mention their wallets. So it’s no surprise that people are passionate and vocal about it. And that’s a good thing. Impassioned people can make great change. We live in an age of the “empowered consumer.” These consumers, armed with knowledge, and powered by the latest technologies, can go a long way towards helping make our healthcare system more efficient and effective. Healthcare’s greatest promise is when consumer empowerment meets with technological advances.
Two weeks ago the FDA held public hearings on the potential of technology and interactive kiosks to help in self-service healthcare solutions for consumers. And while the FDA notes that, “the industry is in development for new technologies that consumers could use to self-screen for a particular disease or condition …” many companies across the nation are already leveraging technology to better our healthcare system. At SoloHealth, we’ve been testing our self-service consumer healthcare kiosk, the SoloHealth Station, in retail locations across America with the goal to empower consumers to become aware of chronic health issues and propel them into action. And we’ve seen strong results.
Awareness and prevention are tried-and-true practices that are absolutely essential to a healthier America – both physically and financially. Today’s consumer is invigorated by a self-service and what-can-I-do-for-myself attitude. And technology is advancing today’s empowered consumer.
There are millions of Americans that have chronic health issues and aren’t even aware. They are like ticking time bombs. The SoloHealth Station is helping to provide a portal for millions of consumers to access health screenings in a free, fast and self-service platform – many who would not regularly seek healthcare attention. Early results show us something we already know: a vast majority of Americans have moderate to severe chronic health issues and aren’t even aware of them. But our data also tells us that once empowered with this knowledge a majority take steps towards prevention by seeking follow-up care for treatment. We believe the time is right for this type of self-service technology that empowers today’s consumer.
Neil Weisman of Blue Chip Healthcare Marketing recently wrote a byline in MediaPost entitled, “Technology: It’s good for your health,” where he outlines many similar themes of how technology is truly engaging and empowering today’s patients… and the results are showing. Companies like U.S. Preventative Medicine, Mollen, Eliza and Teladoc are also leveraging technology to better our system.
Our nation’s healthcare system is sick – no one can deny that fact. As a whole, we are seeing some of the highest rates of poor health and disease, most notably with hypertension, obesity and diabetes, to name a few. But we know awareness and prevention leads to a healthier America. And new technologies are helping to propel today’s empowered consumer into action. Let’s keep pushing forward, as an industry, towards the goal of a better and healthier America.