Friday, November 6, 2015

Reece’s Thesis – Personal, Patient-Generated, Online Health Analysis Has Pluses and Questions

Before you even see a doctor, existing information technology (IT) makes it possible for you to record your medical history, including your health habits; your personal vital signs (BP and pulse), and physical measurements (height, weight, waist size); analyze your breath and your ECG, and arrive at an accurate assessment of your wellness status and disease diagnosis.

Theoretically, such an online analysis would help you prolong your life , warn you of the consequences of your bad health habits, stop or maybe even prevent the major killers of Americans – health disease, diabetes, some cancers, and respiratory ailments.

Then, should you choose to do so, you can collaborate with your doctor to chart a proper course of action.
So much for the positives, now for the questions.

Although such a personal data analysis is possible, is it desirable?

Will patients be able handle the information and make wise decisions ?

Will patients regard the results an invasion of their privacy , a threat to their jobs, and a horsecollar on their personal freedom?

Will IT result in a realistic action plan, change destructive health habits, and prevent premature deaths?

Will physicians regard such IT analysis as an encroachment upon their turf?

Will IT spawn expensive, fruitless, further testing, and needless worry? When it comes to health care, a little knowledge and a lot of information can be a dangerous thing.

Nevertheless, when used properly in the hands of patients, and with physician guidance, online heath IT are a useful tool for disease prevention and more precise diagnosis, ideally with physician collaboration

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