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April 26, 2018

Healthier engagement with technology - Healthline guest post

This week’s blogpost is a guest post from Healthline, a health information site. The post is written by Kate Willett, a freelance writer located in Brooklyn, NY.  She writes about health, politics, and comedy.  She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. 

fit-healthyThe word “technology,” isn’t usually associated with “health.” In fact, for many, technology may bring to mind negative health associations, such as being a couch potato playing video games or numbing out on social media.  Despite the potential negative impacts of technology when used addictively or in place of other healthy activities, there are many ways technology can be an important tool for taking care of your body and mind. 

1. Education

A recent survey by Deloitte suggests that patient engagement shows the most growth within the use of technology.  This engagement includes millions of daily health related Google searches, research on healthcare providers, and online booking of appointments.  Patient engagement leads to better health outcomes. 

The internet can be a fantastic source of information about healthcare and a great way to stay engaged with your health. Whereas in the past, patients had to rely on word-of-mouth, encyclopedias, or information from one provider, the internet has made it easier than ever to take charge of your health and be as informed as possible. There are several ways in which the internet can help you get involved in your own health:

  • While reading an article on a website is no substitute for a medical appointment, your own research into symptoms you are experiencing can be a valuable supplementary tool in making healthcare decisions. Using a validated tool like the free Isabel Symptom Checker means you know you’re getting the right information, and you can then discuss this research with your doctor and reach a correct diagnosis together
  • If you have already received a diagnosis and are certain it’s correct, the internet can provide a wealth of information and connect you with others who share your condition for resources and support
  • Researching doctors or trying to find a specialist is now a lot easier too. You can find out in advance about potential doctor and their background and patient reviews, to make sure you visit the right one for specific health needs.

2. Motivation

Healthcare isn’t just about treating diseases, it’s about living a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent disease in the first place.  Smart-phone apps and wearable devices such as MyFitnessPal and Fitbit have allowed consumers to track their nutrition and exercise like never before, leading many to a healthier, more active lifestyle.  Other apps have helped consumers achieve important health goals, such as quitting smoking.  Of course, just looking at a fitness app won’t make a difference, you have to move your body, but ‘gamifying’ and tracking your fitness can increase your motivation to be your best self. 

3. Manage health conditions

People with chronic health conditions may benefit immeasurably from technology that makes managing their condition easier and safer. New medical devices help consumers monitor conditions like diabetes and cystic fibrosis through the use of wearable sensors.  Other developments, such as contact lenses that monitor blood sugar levels, may save lives and help patients live with more convenience and freedom.  Smartphone apps can even monitor how strong tremors are in Parkinson’s patients. Using technology to track your condition may help you identify when you need to respond, adjust, or seek medical intervention. 

While this post only discusses the ways that you as a consumer can use technology for your health, advances are being made every day in technology that help healthcare practitioners diagnose and treat patients.  The near future will likely hold increased connection between consumer technology and the technology used by healthcare practitioners, such as your individual medical records on your smart phone. Stay informed, stay engaged, and stay healthy!

If you're concerned about any symptoms you're experiencing, try out the medically validated Isabel Symptom Checker. Place your symptoms in, research the possibilities and then talk them through with your doctor.



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