Personalized Care in an Impersonal Health Care world?


What does personalized care or personalized medicine really mean for you and me as a consumer?

Let’s first look at a very situation. Say you have just started to get a headache and a running nose, and you probably have a couple of things at home or something you could pick up at your nearby pharmacy you could pick up relatively simply. How nice would it be, if you could simply figure out what is sort of wrong with you, what to do next without significant disruption to your existing schedule and plans, and based on a combination of what makes you a you, and your preferences?

That doesn’t sound all that hard? After all, a lot of people have all their schedules in their calendar (eg, iPhone, Outlok Calendar), some of the critical meetings and¬†deliverable, and you probably have one of those iPhone apps that can take your heart rate, etc using the iPhone camera. You have probably probably told Facebook more about you than you would tell your doctor or your mother, everything from your date of birth, time of birth, and every party you’ve visited, and plan to attend. All pretty much most information you need for the computer to help you make the decision about your lifestyle is certainly there. Just need to feed it your symptoms, go through a series of questions, and off comes the recommendation that says, “buddy, how about you get take 2 tabs in the next 30 minutes while you are having this chicken rice but please stay off that 2nd glass of wine. Suggest you go home straight after, sleep straight away, so you will most likely be all set for your 6am wake-up time. You have 2 options, shall I book the taxi for you to go home, and do you want me to set an alarm for you, or call up your girlfriend to wake you up since you will probably need some extra hand? Click here to approve the recommended breakfast in the morning I can send to your maid. You might want to pick up some orange juice since you have run out of it at home which might do you some good.

I am not going to give another example if I wanted to extend this story for a chronic disease patient but I think by now, you have an idea. I also haven’t elaborated upon about “what makes you a you” discussion because I plan to spend more time talking the details of your genetic make-up that also places a key role in tailoring the health care you need.

A lot of this is already possible given the technologies available today, and we certainly have a lot of data available “all over the place”, and not necessarily put to better use for helping us plan our health better.

Callum Bir

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