Week 2: The future of healthcare
What do you think will be the biggest changes in healthcare in the next 50 years? How or why will those changes come about? What impacts will those changes have on our lives?
Check out Dan's video:
Also, to get you thinking, check out Microsoft's "Future Vision: Healthcare" video, taken from the Mix08 presenation by Daniel Makowski:
In your response, consider:
- Average life expectancy. Will it be more or less than it is now? Why?
- The aging population. What might change if there are more people over 70 than under 20?
- Currently, many rural communities have trouble attracting physicians to practice. Will this trend continue? Why or why not?
- Climate change. Will it impact our health? How?
- Political will to spend as much as we do, or more, on healthcare.
- Technological advances.
- Other influencing factors.
I certainly hope that in the next 50 years we can come up with a way to make healthcare more affordable and accessable to everyone. The major issue today is making it affordable. I absolutely hope we can find a way to make sure everyone is able to get the health care they need regardless of the money they have.
Climate change will definitely affect the health of the population as well as the health of the environment. The release of certain chemicals into the air, such as sulphur and excess nitrogen have detrimental impacts to human health. Sulphur can lead to the degradation of the brain as well as cause problems for the nervous system. Other chemicals are contributors to respiration problems and also can lead to a rise in cancer cases.
The other issue I see becoming even worse is the exposure to chemicals we seem to feel are completely harmless yet have incredibly long lasting health effects. Rachel Carson wrote in her book Silent Spring about pesticides and herbicides being mass applied, but those weren't the only chemicals released into the environment. There are plenty more, but we havent seen all of the effects yet. I suspect in the next fifty years the effects of the other chemicals out there will really start to set in.
Politicians are working for the betterment of the people (in theory), and while they are quite aware of the economic aspect, I feel like the importance of well being and health in America (or the world for that matter) should really take precedence.
Technology is really and truly amazing in that with every coming day there are new discoveries and breakthroughs in the medical technology. Whether the technology in detecting issues improves or the technology to start to fix health issues improves either way I can only see the technology being a benefit as we find new and more efficient ways to treat and diagnose diseases.
You would think with all the break throughs in technology and the medical field in general, the life expectancy would be a sure shot to improve, however, until the other problems are fixed, I can't see it going anywhere but down. In fifty years, if the environmental issues aren't addressed, I can't honestly see people living to their 70's.
Hannah, I certainly agree with some of your statements about the issues that could come up in relation to things like climate change and pollution.
For the first time in a while (or so I've heard) some people are predicting that the life expectancy has started to go down. It going down doesn't necessarily effect our transportation needs, so much as why it is going down. People are getting illnesses due to lifestyle choices and the more health issues they have, the more treatment they need and the more they need to personally go in and consult a physician.
Technological advances definitely do need to be considered too. I think we can expect a lot more at home, and self tests and remedies. I think technology will also change the kinds of illnesses. We may not be exposed to as many bacterial illnesses if we stay more confined to our homes. So then we are looking at a whole knew set of treatments for different problems, that even if we try to prepare for, we may encounter many challenges.
Pressure from citizens will probably encourage more government funding/ money to go into healthcare. I think political changes would actually be one of our smallest concerns. The government will change to please as many citizens as they can, whether it is for personal benefit and/ or the personal benefit of the country.
I agree with Hannah that affordability and accessibility of health care is one of the most pressing issues for the future. I feel that health care in general has become more about making money as businesses and less about taking care of patients. Companies try to sell you medications through advertisements on TV/websites. and doctors can only meet with patients for 15 min. because they have to get through so many patients in a day. Also, the only solution that conventional doctors seem to have to anything is to administer pills. Although alternative medicine practices such as acupuncture, herbal medications or shiatsu may not work miracles, they can definitely be effective in relieving pain, fighting depression etc. A healthcare approach that would allow for more flexibility in methods and types of medication would be more effective because patients would be able to explore different options and find what worked for them.
This idea also ties into having a more personalized healthcare system where treatments could be prescribed more based on lifestyle rather than weight/gender/age (although this is still important). Also, personalized healthcare would create a stronger relationship between the doctors and patients. Increased communication between patients and doctors would result in fewer errors in prescriptions, and less misunderstandings. I can see how having communication with doctors via the internet and technology could be helpful especially for elderly people who are house bound. Also, it could allow patients access to opinions of multiple doctors easily, avoiding having to schedule multiple appointments. However, I don’t think appointments via technology could ever completely replace in person visits. Using technology regularly to communicate medical information would pose issues concerning privacy of medical records as well.
I liked Halvorsen’s ideas on increasing walking and biking as modes of transportation in order to reduce obesity. With school budget cuts, many physical education classes have been cut back/eliminated, adding to the increase of obesity in children. Also, another issue that connects healthcare and transportation is the transportation of elderly and the disabled. I recently read an article in the Star Tribune that briefly touched on this subject: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/120428474.html (article found here)
Life expectancy is probably going to see a decline in the next 50 years, due to the ongoing rise in obesity. A lot of this rise has to do with the rise in technological development, from the Playstation to the television, and with diet. Kids these days have little time for exercising or caring about what they eat. As shown in Supersize Me, most kindergardners know who Ronald McDonald is before they know who George Washington is. While that experiment may be extreme, there are people, even kids who eat nothing but fast food. Also, as kids (and adults too, but I'm just referring to our own and to future generations) spend more time in sedentary activities. One thing that restrains people actually getting to healthy foods is the so-called "food deserts". What this means is that in a developed area (Chicago is one example) it has become hard to get healthy, affordable food. So what this does is open a doorway for cheaper, non-nutrious food to get new buyers, people who are reliant on what they can get from this source, regardless of the healthiness of said sources (FAST FOOD).
Climate change impacting our health is another issue. If you've been hit by the recent string of tornadoes in the South, you know this for a fact! But seriously, shrinking ozone and air pollution in large cities is leading to damage to your skin, lungs and other parts of your body. Smog, for instance, is a makeup of air pollutants and fog that hangs around cities. Los Angeles has a lot of smog. What it does, beside weaken building supports and rust metal, is damage the lungs of younger and elderly people. There have been studies that link smog exposure to asthma development in younger people. It would not surprise me that as more pollutants are released into the air, more and more damaging conditions to humans will soon be observed, if they haven't been already.
Health care is one of the biggest conflicts people deal with?Health care effects our everyday lives. , I believe that in the near future the governement will more or less provide coverage to millions of uninsured citizens. But the way to get it will probably be hard. There would probably be large amounts of taxes because if this. The technology will increase and so will the medicine. There would be less interactiveness betwwen the doctors and the patients. It seems as though, technology always decreases our social skills. MONEY-will be the underlying reason for treating patients. Therefore, causing doubt within patients, I also believe that medicine will be less trusted. Doctors will become too advanced to a point where natural remedies are considered by the patients.
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