Catherine the Great once said "A great wind is blowing. It will either give you imagination or a headache.” Even though she lived in the late 18th century, there are times when I think she was referring to today's life and times specifically the technological growth we have seen in the last fifty years. I know technological advances are wonderful things and for the most part they make our lives better. The problem is that these advancements come in fits and starts. Just about the time you finally get use to the new fangled thing, it is changed and you are back to square one.
I started traveling this circular path when I bought a programmable Texas Instrument calculator in the late '60s for use in the interpretation of a type of blood test. From that point until today I have been fascinated with healthcare/medicine's technological revolution and how it affects the delivery of this important part of our everyday life.
About ten years ago I had an ah ha moment when I discovered that something else was going on. These changes harbored a stealth like evolution in the patient/physician relationship. I don't want to get to deep into the weeds, but let me explain what I mean. The patient, that's you and me, has become far more sophisticated in our choice and use of the healthcare system. We are transforming from the quiet, non participative patient to an activist customer/consumer. As innocent as this appears on paper, it is an extraordinarily powerful shift. This shift in control may be best summarized by Kenneth Hammond when he wrote. “A generation ago, individuals gratefully accepted whatever information they were given….The doctor…was the source of all knowledge and data. Today we expect the network of information will be there and made available to us. Now in almost every action we have with a professional, we take it for granted that we are also a partner and decision maker.”
The information we need to achieve this new status is out there for the harvesting, and the means of gathering it, storing it and recalling it is literally at our fingertips. Over the next weeks and months I will try to help you discover these tools, as well as the information you might need to help you become more of a partner in the management of your healthcare.