Everybody knows that achieving any goal starts with your first step. Then there is the constant monitoring of the achievements you make along the way to reaching your goal(s). Why it’s taken the health and fitness industry so long to get the importance of this personal monitoring process, is beside me, but it’s finally here.
As reported on the NBC Nightly News program this past Monday, personal fitness monitors track everything from steps, heart rates, calories burned, and even sleep patterns. The real-time reports are downloadable to smart phones and laptops, and are now making inroads to families and corporations alike. Companies are recognizing the benefits that range from employee well-being to reduced health costs and sick leaves, and have started buying into the “employee health awareness” idea by providing free personal health and fitness tracking devices to their employees.
What is relevant to us, at Grace Century, is the feedback element of these tracking devices. This resonates with us, as individuals are empowered when they have the information to use! This is paramount in our electronic health records project, the Quantum Group, since new EHR mandates include patient portals. Up until now, only your doctor knew (or was even able to read; handwriting included) what was recorded on your personal medical file.
Even more relevant, is Quantum’s patented Qx2 or “Wellness index”. Finally there is a score, or better yet, “one number”, that can help not only ensure entities and health care providers that are aiding a patient, but also provide an understandable and uniformed measurement that can help an individual in monitoring their own health and the efforts made towards improving it.
Information is power.
Another key component of electronic health records is the potential of data mining. Never before has mankind had the ability to gather, analyze, and use statistics for the populations. Live in an area that is by a power line? How many recorded illnesses in that region? What effect did it have on the socioeconomic results of families? What other items shown have come to light? The potential benefits are mind-boggling, but the possibilities of abuse are there as well.
No one will argue that the information is potentially more good than bad. Anything that will aid in the health and well-being of individuals and the possible extension of life has to be good.
The enormous monetary benefits and cost reduction in health care costs can, at this point, only be estimated. But, to be candid, all of this is a little scary. Like a science-fiction movie, whether we like it or not, it’s obvious that the good and potential bad are here to stay.