The term “population health” was introduced to our daily system to recognize the impact of factors such as: education, employment, environment, lifestyle or public safety, others than health care.
Technology seems to be one of the fields that are leading us to improve the population health. Internet and smartphones have begun to be health changers, connecting patients and health givers to a whole new level, along with what health care really means, since it’s no longer only by face to face visits.
Our human body is confused with modern life. Since the Industrial Revolution, our environment has been changing at a much faster rate than we can keep up with, for example, back then, people had to eat whenever they could, nowadays it’s easy to take out a pizza from the fridge and put it in the stove – and that’s why technology is the most valuable tool to improve our health. Smartphones are slowly becoming some kind of “pre-doctors”, using a simple mobile connection they allow people to diagnose themselves. Apps are tools that have revolutionized our lives, some already allow to send a picture of a skin lesion to a doctor, who can make an analysis right on time, sending their orders as final say. It’s been centuries since doctors have been considerate the authorities of medicine, but it seems it will change in the future since the patients will gain more power as long as technology give them access to its updates.
A work in progress it’s a GIS (Graphic Information System) that allows people to put on a digital map different kinds of medical information, some kind of Google Maps for humans that collects information since DNAs to heart races, from each one of us. Allying GIS with Big Data would improve this work to its highest level. What works for a patient might not work for others but with collected information from past patients who’ve been treated, researchers could use the data to determine what treatment is the best in which case, even thought that with enormous power comes greatest responsibilities. Using Big Data could increase the medical identity theft, which is already a problem nowadays with people stealing medical identities in order to get prescription drugs. There’s also concern about the privacy of genetic information. Yes, hackers are not the only troublemakers.
We believe in a future where technology will allow every individual having power over their own bodies, improving treatments and giving patients an infinity of options and maybe providing alternative services for medical supporters.