Empowered Patients, Social Doctors and the Future of Healthcare

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It’s often said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it — but have you ever considered the opposite idea? Truth is, those who fail to anticipate the future run the risk of not getting to experience it.

In healthcare, that future is rapidly unfolding in countless ways, many of which are discussed in a just-released free report by PSFK Labs. And while much of it covers trends that don’t necessarily relate to aesthetic medicine — 3D printing of prosthetics anyone? — it offers invaluable insights for anyone who deals with today’s empowered patient. Among them:

Data Synergy

As people get more involved in their healthcare, they’re likely to generate a greater volume of personal health data. That, in turn, will raise questions around ownership and portability. As empowered patients, they’ll want some control over this information (and how it’s shared) to ensure they receive the greatest benefit from that shared access.

Instant Access

Increasingly, patients will want to be able to connect with their doctors through a variety of platforms and channels – video, online, mobile and social – in order to receive care that is more personal, consistent and convenient. 24/7 access may not be feasible but patients will expect the doctor-patient relationship to evolve to facilitate people’s “always on” lifestyles.

Informed Conversations

As patients broaden their healthcare networks to include patient communities and other sources, they’ll require more access to personal medical results and resources that are accurate, standardized and easily understood in order to facilitate discussion and collaboration.

Technology advice

Digitally-savvy patients will also look to their doctors and other healthcare providers to be technology and information advisors in the medical space, notes the report. Whether curating trusted content or recommending relevant mobile apps and wearable devices, doctors will be expected to educate patients on resources and technologies that can foster a more continuous and responsive model of healthcare.

Put all of the above together with the other trends noted in the report and it’s clear that things are going to get very interesting going forward.

Doctor Takeaway

As healthcare evolves, doctors have a choice: adapt or get left behind

As patients take advantage of connected technologies, social tools and information resources to become more knowledgeable about their healthcare options, the tools doctors use to reach them will have to evolve as well. The increased consumerization of healthcare will require a more “patient-centric” approach that will reward providers who establish more personal and collaborative relationships with their patients in order to achieve the best outcomes.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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