Learn the new terms and how healthcare is changing to keep you healthy.

The changes underway in healthcare are surfacing a lot of new terms for consumers and for some, it’s adding confusion and more complexity to an already complex topic.

An article was shard with my professional network yesterday and one of the comments was that it contained too much jargon for them to understand it. There are new terms emerging for how healthcare will be delivered in the future.

In short, healthcare is going to become more predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory —referred to as P4 medicine. As a healthcare consumer, you will play a more active role in maintaining your health and when necessary, treatment will be tailored according to your genomic makeup. Genomic simply refers to all your genes rather than a single gene that expresses a specific hereditary trait or condition.

There are social determinants of health that are a result of how money, power and resources are distributed. Providers are hoping that as a healthcare consumer, you will play a more active role in managing the social determinants affecting your own health. Social determinants include:

  1. Income and Social Status.
  2. Social Support Networks.
  3. Education and Literacy.
  4. Employment/Working Conditions.
  5. Social Environments.
  6. Physical Environments.
  7. Personal Health Practices and Coping Skills.
  8. Healthy Child Development.
  9. Biology and genetic endowment
  10. Gender
  11. Culture

Digital Health

There are tons of new devices, apps and platforms to help you and healthcare providers continuously manage your health determinants and your overall health status. Trackers help monitor wellness activities such as your diet, fitness and sleep patterns. Telehealth services and messaging apps make it easier for you to connect with doctors when you need care. Medical grade devices monitor your heart if you have irregular rhythm and other key vitals after care is delivered to diagnosis problems and provide timely treatment.

All of these new solutions are referred to as Digital Health and are an important part of the changes underway in healthcare. Tracking, connectivity and data are helping to reduce inefficiencies, improve access and reduce the cost of healthcare for all. How?

Predictive Medicine and Scientific Wellness

All of the digital health solutions are helping to collect the data needed to deliver more timely lifestyle interventions that reverse disease such as diabetes and enhance your health.

Combining digital health data with genomic data will eventually enable physicians to predict your health risks and probability of disease so that interventions are delivered before the onset of disease. The goal is to keep you healthy — and when medical intervention is needed, it has few if any negative side affects.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Artificial intelligence is already being used in healthcare. For example: Large databases of images enable computers to diagnose skin cancer and identify other issues with an error rate of 4-5% — which is as good or better than human-level performance. There are free consumer systems if you want to try it out

Personalized Medicine

Medicine is changing for the better. The take away is that the “one size fits all” approach to medicine is almost over. Interventions will be driven by data collected by all the apps and devices you use, artificial intelligence will make the information usable, lifestyle intervention will play a bigger role in your care and medical care when needed will be tailored to your genomics to reduce negative side affects.