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The Future of Healthcare: Through The Eyes Of A Visionary

hcare-21(Part 1)

As Wisdom Works helps leaders develop strategies for advancing the health and well-being of organizations and communities, we often have the good fortune of meeting big thinkers who stretch the boundaries of what’s possible.  One of these visionaries is Clare Martorana.  Clare is former Senior Vice President and Editor-At-Large of WedMD, a well-known health information services company, and she agreed to share her insights about the future of healthcare and its impact on human well-being.

Me: What do you think the future of healthcare looks like?

Clare: I think the future of healthcare will mean four things:

1) an easy access to an enormous amount of information that, 2. makes the experience more personal, 3) better informs decision-making, and 4) uses health and wellness to connect people with others like never before. And this future is right around the corner.

Just like getting money from an ATM, eventually your health records will be available to you anywhere.  Think about it: ATMs work brilliantly.  Punch in your unique pin code, and the ATM ensures multiple systems such as Cirrus, Link and Plus talk to one another behind the scenes so that you get the cash you’ve requested. Your health information will soon work like this, too. Various sources of information about your health – from your health plan, doctors and hospital to your dentist, alternative care clinic and local gym – will feed into a well-integrated global data management system, accessible to you anytime, anywhere.  So, if you have a heart attack while skiing on vacation, the emergency care physician will be able to retrieve your entire health history with a click of a button.

This global data management system may sound complex, and it is. But like the ATM, your experience of it will be quite personal; your health will become the primary focus.


Me: What will this global data management system allow people to do that we weren’t able to do before?

Clare: I see it in a hierarchy.  As the different data management systems seamlessly communicate about individuals’ health and wellness, a rich data set of information about our population will grow in size and accuracy. From this data set, we’ll be able to generate completely new insights about the population, from evolving demographic and psychographic data to treatment protocols. And we’ll be able to more easily see how you as an individual are similar to “people like you” and what is unique to you alone. When these insights combine with emerging technologies and sciences, new innovations in understanding and preventing illness and disease will become possible.

This is beginning to happen already.  For instance, blending personal genome science with population health insights, for $99 the biotech firm 23 & Me can test your DNA for over 200 personal health issues and traits that may impact your health today and in the future. Knowing this very personalized information enables you, as well as your health and wellness professionals, to take a more active role in managing your health.

What’s really exciting is that we will be able to treat patients for conditions we know they are likely to develop, but have not manifested yet.  So part of the transformation of healthcare lies in this “power to predict” which we’re developing on an enormous scale.

 * Stay Tuned for Part 2 of this Blog Where Clare Shares How Your Health is Both “Local” and “Social”



photo credit: hin255