by Krissy Goelz (@krisgoelz)
We here at Pixels & Pills are well-known for our vocal support of digital technology and its place in healthcare – how its helped medicine and care to advance and to help people better than ever before. But today I wanted to look at one particular facet of healthcare, and how going digital has improved it: the plight of the patient with a chronic or long-term condition. These technologies have made a huge difference in a variety of ways.
Its given more treatment options to long-term patients.
Not only has research been helped by advances in technology, but communication technology advances have meant that healthcare professionals and patients all over the world are able to know about new treatment options, and new studies of existing treatments, faster and easier than ever before.
Its created the e-patient movement.
I originally typed “its created the empowered patient, but thats not entirely true, of course. Patients were taking charge of their own healthcare long ago, to the best of their ability. Thats the key word – its that ability thats changed so much. The internets effect on the democratization of information has been a sea change. Dedicated healthcare professionals can find information so much more easily now, but more than that, so can we all – and their patients can, and will, help them do so.
It connects patients with each other.
Not only cane-patients search for information, but they can find each other. This is irreplaceable and invaluable. Patients can share their experiences and provide empathy in a way that only people in the same situation can do. And thanks to digital communications, its increasingly independent of location and platform.
Its helped personalized medicine take shape.
TheIs My Cancer Different website is an excellent example of this. Data can be parsed by disease and personal demographics such that a long-term patient can be identified by the specifics of their situation. This enables their healthcare professionals to address their condition based on who they are as whole entities, not just as a case number. A persons geographic location, family situation, work history, activity requirements, allergies, medical conditions, social standing or any number of other factors can influence what happens. Their time to diagnosis, the accuracy of the diagnosis, the treatment options available, the follow-up, the compliance – its all exquisitely sensitive to the patients unique case. And, of course, the medical particulars of the condition are the foundation of personalized medicine.
Are you working on any projects that help the long-term patient find and enjoy better care?