The Future of Health Care Is Social

22 03 2010

Health care is a personal issue that has become wholly public–as the national debate over reforming our system makes painfully clear. But what’s often lost in the gun-toting Town Hall debates about the issue is a clear vision about how medicine could work in the future. In this feature article, frog design uses its people-centered design discipline to show how elegant health and life science technology solutions will one day become a natural part of our behavior and lifestyle. What you see here is the result of frog’s ongoing collaboration with health-care providers, insurers, employers, consumers, governments, and technology companies. You can join the conversation too: this Thursday October 8 at noon eastern, frog will hold a discussion about the future of health care on Twitter (follow the hash tag #futureofhealthcare). You can also download a .pdf version of this article from the last page. – Noah Robischon, editor.

Future of Health Care

Too busy to be healthy

Susan’s life is full. That’s a nice way of saying that she is frenetically, overwhelmingly busy–too busy, she sometimes jokes, to be healthy. She has a husband and two small children, a full-time job, and aging parents who rely on her for support. She also has two younger brothers and a community of friends both near and far that she keeps in touch with mostly online.

At 39, Susan finds herself at the center of managing the health and wellness of her young family, her parents, and herself. While numerous tools on the market can help Susan do this, few are connected, the information they provide is confusing, and they’re often so difficult to use that they cost her time–time she doesn’t have.

Susan is not alone. Too many of us are too busy to be healthy–not because we lack awareness. We know what we need to do. It’s finding the time to do it that’s the problem. In an age of 24/7 connectivity that requires our near-constant vigilance, time feels more pressed than ever. Yet, it may be that the very technology allowing us this around-the-clock connection can transform how we manage our health.

Future of Health Care

Fortunately, we are at an inflection point in history both from a policy and technological perspective. Advances in wirelessly connected devices and social networking platforms will make the job of a “family health manager” much easier, more meaningful, and more effective.

In this outlook, we illustrate trends in networked devices and social networking platforms to project a future where Susan can tend to her family’s varying health needs while still having time for herself.

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