Viewpoint: How Are We Doing?

What do we want from our healthcare system? What do we need from it? And what is the role of technology in helping us feel better?

There are so many ways that healthcare technology has advanced to help people live better lives in the last few decades: pacemakers, CT scans, interventional radiology, insulin pumps, digital records, genome sequencing, big data. Billions of dollars each year are invested in health technologies to help promote cutting-edge video visits with doctors, artificial-intelligence-driven oncology treatment, new sensors, software, and devices.

Yet human suffering is not only persisting in America. There are signs that it is increasing. We’re falling on the global happiness index. Life expectancy is dropping in the US for the first time in decades. Our doctors are burned out and increasingly suicidal. Addiction to prescription medication is an epidemic. The concept of “financial toxicity”–when patients can’t afford their care–is now mainstream. We are at a breaking point.

At the South by Southwest conference earlier this year, the conversations in Austin took a remarkably sober turn. Yes, there were still all the free drinks and T-shirts and herds of eager young founders seeking their big break that you would expect. Yet there was a real trend of reflection from the main stage. Is all this technology helping or hurting us? Even Adweek reported: “after a decade of technology hero worship in business and culture, it is perhaps no surprise that we’re ready for some mature and far-reaching reflection on where we’re headed in the future and what role technology can and should play in defining that future.”

Read full article by Claudia Williams, CEO, Manifest MedEx, published in Public Health Post.