Have you ever wondered why conventional healthcare systems often aren’t effective enough? If so, you’ve probably nearly beaten your brains out trying to understand why. Does your experience consist of papers flying around and excessive red tape and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness in the face of a complicated system of mazes? Well, the traditional system seems to be on its back foot right now meaning it is time some serious surgery was conducted on its heart to give it a new lease on life.
Maybe you know the irritation of waiting in a queue for even the most ordinary visit, after having already spent too much of your precious time giving the person at the reception desk all the necessary details about yourself. Surely, it would be better if they were already there before you set foot inside.
LACK OF PERSONAL CONTACT
Now, how about receiving your lab test results and having no bloody idea what they mean until your doctor explains them to you in person? If you are lucky, you might receive some accompanying guidelines containing the healthy ranges and so on. However this is not always a standard procedure. Furthermore, would it not make you happy to get an in-depth opinion from your doctor about some recent health problems you experience immediately and without having to leave your home?
EHEALTH EMERGING SOLUTIONS
You’d probably wait with baited breath for the possibility of getting an online diagnosis, previously consulted on with a number of the most acknowledged specialists in the field from all around the globe. Thus, you’d get very accurate and thoroughly thought-over data. Well, there is some good news for ehealth. Hopes for change in the current situation are at hand, some of which have already been set in motion!
IT ALL STARTS WITH A BRILLIANT IDEA…
Great minds think alike, and this can also be seen in the case of ideas and projects for the future of healthcare. In 2007,Dr. Jay Parkinson@jayparkinson started his online practice in New York _–_a website-based system which enables a two-way flow of information between the patients and the doctor. First, the patients send the information on their symptoms and check the doctor’s availability in his online calendar. Then, the doctor calls the patients at their homes and arranges an appropriate form of visit, online or in person, having already thought over a possible diagnosis. Payments are handled via the secure PayPal system.
Shortly after Parkinson’s practice started, he received a cooperation proposal from Nathaniel Findlay, CEO of MycaHealth, which involved creating a secure online portal intended to serve the very same purpose as the doctor’s virtual practice. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the cooperation between Parkinson and MycaHealth resulted in a new and exciting product: the free Hello Health platform, which is a step forward from the original concept.
HELLO HEALTH – A PATIENT-FRIENDLY VISIT-ARRANGEMENT PLATFORM
Learn about Hello Health's user-friendly communications suite and practice management system, including secure messaging and video visits, document viewing capabilities, e-prescribing, scheduling tools and more. Apart from the above activities, HelloHealth (ehealth service) allows the patients to gain access not only to their primary-care physician’s profile, but also to a team of specialists available at a mouse-click, so to say. It is a complete and versatile platform for:
• keeping medical records,
• managing the practice system,
• providing a convenient sphere of social communication between the patients and the doctors.
Moreover, it also contains a rating system that allows patients to see opinions about a particular doctor or specialist on the basis of previous patients’ experiences. In spite of some procedural difficulties concerning the delayed involvement of insurance companies in acknowledging the system, its creators are very optimistic about the project and expect it to develop very fast after coping with some initial problems.
ZOCDOC – THE EXPANDABLE VENTURE FOCUSED ON THE PATIENT’S CONVENIENCE
A similar initiative, although stemming from a slightly different perspective, is the ZocDoc ehealth platform. It started in 2007 as a means of helping patients in New York City arrange dentist appointments via website. Today, after four years of development, the range of services has extended to twelve new specialties, offering patients an all-in-one online healthcare solution. Apart from that, the company now offers its services in as many as ten major cities in the USA. However, facilitated and improved patient-doctor communication is not the end of the story.
PATIENTSLIKEME – THE SOCIAL SPACE FOR PATIENTS
PatientsLikeMe, for instance, offers a patient-to-patient interchange of opinions and information, as well as the possibility of creating certain groups of people sharing the same symptoms. These people can mutually support themselves in order to improve the quality of their lives. The website also helps to keep all necessary medical information in one place with fast and convenient access. Now you’ll never forget to inform your doctor about some important details of your past treatments anymore.
SWITCH2HEALTH – ENJOY YOUR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND GET REWARDED
Remember that taking care of your health can also be … fun! Yes, it’s not a joke. There are some places on the Internet where you can be rewarded for your everyday activities aimed at improving your condition. One of these places is Switch2Health, a social networking service allowing the users to enter daily information on their physical activity which is constantly recorded in the database. Then the users can obtain valuable rewards from many well-known companies involved in sport and health on the basis of a point-scoring system. Is it not exciting that the ball is finally in your court?
MEDPEDIA – A RELIABLE AND CONVENIENT PLATFORM FOR MEDICAL INFORMATION
Moreover, the „traditional” online medical services are also looking to the future and expanding their functionality. MedPedia, originally a collaborative encyclopedia for healthcare created by both doctors and patients, quite recently launched a new feature: the RareSpace community. It aims at helping everyone in obtaining and sharing information on rare childhood disesases which still pose a serious threat for too many families.
EHEALTH – MAKING HEALTHCARE HALE AND HEARTY
As you can see, some problems eating away at conventional healthcare can be overcome. It’s enough to have a few people with true passion for what they do, put their heads together and create some state-of-the-art solutions aimed at improving the lives of both patients and doctors. These people are not afraid of putting their ideas into practice, for they know that a simple yet brilliant idea gives them an advantage and lets them look optimistically into the future of healthcare: eHealth. It is only a matter of time when such initiatives will grow into a worldwide, common practice (pun intended!), bringing healthcare to the next level and simultaneously bringing it back to its essence. Do not turn a blind eye to the status quo. Keep your eyes peeled, for the dawn of a new, healthier era is just around the corner. Cheers!