The world is about to experience a drastic population shift. The baby boomer generation is expected to retire at a rate faster than ever. For those not quite sure about what baby boomers are, they are people born during a period marked by a significant birth rates. This will have drastic repercussions in the world of finance, business and healthcare.
Healthcare is going to demand a higher level of spending as more elderly than ever will start to get admitted into hospitals and clinics globally. It is uncomforting to know that at the same time the overall amount of primary care doctors will be declining around the world (Reference). This means longer wait times for seniors along with their caregivers which will more than likely be their children.
What all of this leads to is a movement based around self-care and preventative medicine. Each year millions of people around the world die from preventable causes. These deaths can account for half the deaths in the US in 2000 (reference). The actual idea of self care is not new, it involves doing more what you do and spending time taking care of your health. Numerous health startups have been popping up to help patients manage their health from symptom tracking, providing medication reminders to journaling.
Other startups approach selfcare in a different manner. They provide content related to selfcare such as mindfulness meditation lessons, personal fitness training classes from home. All of which are starting to seem like a modern daily utility that all should have access to. Sure apps and technology are making a dent in helping users with mental health and managing chronic illness.
However, there are also companies that are laser focused on personalized medicine as well. Companies provide personalized vitamins and supplements en masse at ease for consumers exactly when they need them. They are personalized around a user’s health goals, a user’s genomics and or specific blood work that shows deficiencies. Pair this with a simple way to track, manage and optimize one’s health using an app, and you have a viable business.
However, adoption of technologies in the realm of health comes with red tape and slow adoption. The science and evidence is there for these tools to exist, but users often find it tiresome to manually enter details of their ongoing treatment. It doesn’t get any better from a payor’s standpoint either where payors (such as insurance companies) remain hesitant due to the massive amount of solutions available without a long track record.
Physicians are too inundated to recommend, learn and promote apps as they simply can’t keep up with what works and what doesn’t. Afterall, there is an entire industry built around marketing drugs to physicians through sales reps as doctors remain too busy to learn about all the options becoming readily available in the fast moving world of technology.
Evidence shows that those suffering from any major chronic condition can improve adherence between 10-30% by simply using an app. It eliminates recall bias and lowers cognitive load all of which play a major role in one’s health. Health apps such as CareClinic take it a step further and allow you to determine correlations automatically at home.
Although these apps and other solutions are not a replacement for a doctor visit, they can provide meaningful feedback to keep us on track. It does require a bit of data entry for any sort of meaningful conclusions to be reached, but it can be well worth it. It is one small step we can take to save time, money and keep ourselves healthy.