Patients, physicians and society all agree: health data helps. But who should collect it? No one can deny that data collected close to the source (the patient), on a daily basis, is valuable information. Yet, it is a struggle to transform an entire culture based on the notion that only healthcare providers are responsible for health. Patients, for the most part, have been passive. They show up at the doctor – if at all – and the doctor tells them what to do. Now, some of them, but by far not enough of them, are starting to awaken to the idea of getting involved in their own health.
This awakening is important, because diseases are preventable – especially chronic diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 U.S. deaths each year, while treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86 percent of America’s healthcare costs, CDC says.
The U.S. emphasis on value-based healthcare is forcing Americans to recognize that not only for personal longevity and quality of life – but for national financial stability, as well — healthcare should start with patients. And now, an additional incentive is added: doctors will be financially rewarded for preventing illness before it starts. But to do that, they will need to get patients to care about their own health. “Patient empowerment” has become a buzz word, but it hasn’t quite become realized—at least not yet.