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Mobile Healthcare and Healthy Living

Published on July 28th, 2014 by in Uncategorized

The focus on healthy living is growing rapidly; diet changes and increased work out regimes  are the constant topic of conversation and study. Yet this topic is separated from any discussion of hospitals, medicine, and doctors. Organic, home remedies are becoming the new trend, with avoidance of pharmaceuticals following. This is neither a bad or a good thing, but it is something that hospitals need to realize and address. America currently has a medical care system – not a health care system.  We focus on treating illness after it has occurred – rather than preventing it before it shows up.  While Americans are living longer, about half of the population is limited by preventable chronic illnesses and simple restrictions stemming from unhealthy habits. What people are turning to is any kind of preventative measure they can find, which currently is well provided by organic remedies and lifestyle changes. It is good that people realize that often habits and routines need to be changed for a healthier life, but there can also be a way for the doctors to help, rather than be a costly hinderance, and not be seen as simply pill pushers.

Trillions of dollars are spent by Americans every year on medical treatment, but studies show that every $1 spent per year on preventative health care programs results in a savings of more than $5 to the U.S. economy.  Clearly using preventative health care services can save lives at no additional cost to the taxpayer. In fact, it is cheaper. Preventative measures certainly save lives; over 40 percent of American deaths occur every year because of alcohol misuse, tobacco misuse, dietary, and sedentary issues. Preventative measures were necessary in those cases; lifestyle changes needed to be enacted that changed the habits of misuse. As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The issue with preventative measure and lifestyle changes is that they take a significant level of discipline and vigilance. With the busy lives led by today’s citizens, often the time commitment of a habit change is impossible. It is difficult to keep track of progress and the new habit plan. This is where mHealth comes in. There are apps that provide the extra help needed to maintain a lifestyle change. Apps can remind, keep records, and encourage. Additionally, apps can provide information about prevention techniques, and provide connection to doctors and specialists in the case of more serious occurrences. The mHealth world is where the doctors and hospitals can meet the patients and stand on common ground. As opposed to simply telling a patient to lose weight, or change other habits, physicians can “prescribe” an app, giving the patient a simple, cheap way to take a step in the healthy direction. Mobile apps are the beginning of a wide preventative medicine field, one to which hospitals and doctors should quickly connect.

 
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