Maureen Wendell, VP, Account Director, Palio
Twenty years ago: 1991.
You go to the doctor. Your chart is a folder stuffed full of papers, one of hundreds in the office. You leave with a prescription, which your physician wrote on a small piece of paper, and you carry it to the pharmacist. The pharmacy – unaffiliated with any larger chain – takes your paper, files it, and fills your prescription. If it’s for a “scheduled” drug, like a narcotic, you sign your name in a large ledger.
That chart is likely to be a digital file, and your prescription is equally likely to be transmitted electronically to your pharmacy, where it is filed digitally and cross-checked against your prescription history, for contraindications, and your personal history, for allergies. Your input is either verbal or digital – an answer to a question that you’re asked, which is typed in, or a digital signature. Some people do have a “care team” structure where their different health providers interact directly, but they’re likely to be extremely well-off, or dealing with a serious and specialized issue such as cancer.
Twenty years in the future: 2031. What will your healthcare experience look like?
Despite too many years of legislative hang-ups and politicking, we’ve finally attained a unifiedsystem of electronic health-care records. From your patient profile to your visit report to your prescriptions to your reviews of your experiences, it’s all digital, searchable and shareable.
Your physician and pharmacist both access the same data. Also included are your massage therapist, who helps you with your bad back, and, of course, your insurance. Your dentist or your allergist, however, have different permission levels. The only one who can see everything is you.
You aren’t a lone ship sailing from port to port to manage your healthcare anymore. Your care team can be linked as closely as you would like them to be.
This helps them to address red flags and head off health problems. They’re compensated more highly for preventative work than for curative or palliative care, so they are able to focus accordingly.
Paperwork is minimized, allowing back-office work to be replaced by true patient care. Visit lengths have grown from under 20 minutes to half an hour, and waiting time has shrunk from nearly an hour to 10 minutes.
Because information no longer requires physical housing, many physicians are reverting to house calls, a practice that appeals especially to the elderly, parents of small children, and professionals working long hours.
Because each patient owns the repository of their health data, a variety of tools have sprung up to help them parse and utilize it. Digital scales, thermometers, sleep monitors, blood-sugar monitors and other small wireless tools feed that repository effortlessly, making it ever more useful in predicting and monitoring your health.
What are you working on that can help this future arrive sooner?
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.