Health

Medical Trends & What They Mean for Your Family

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Healthcare is a constant concern for families all over the country: how to balance the budget, manage schedules, and keep everyone healthy is a huge challenge.  But there are some trends that are helping to not only lower cost, but save time, and most importantly, lives.

Mobile Health

According to Forbes, users will soon trust their mobile health apps more than they trust their doctors. These mobile health technologies have the ability to tell how many steps you take, how far you travel, calories burned, heart rate, and much more.

Apps like the free ZocDoc let you make appointments with doctors by entering in your zip code and therefore maximize time and convenience.

Trying to get your family motivated to exercise more? The popular Zombies, Run! makes exercise a game as the users try to outrun zombies in the apocalypse. It costs $7.99.

Those who need to ask a doctor a quick question and don’t have time to make an appointment can use a free app called HealthTap. Doctors who participate must show proof of valid medical license before registering with the service.

Biosimilars

Another trend that is taking the country, and Gwinnett County, by storm is biosimilars. A biosimilar is a copycat versions of biologic drug. The short version, without all the complex science talk, is that biologics are based on biology, whereas most pharmaceuticals are based on chemistry.  Because there is much more science and research required for biologic drugs, they are often up to 20 times more expensive than regular chemical pharmaceuticals.  Even with the high cost, many of these medicines are necessary to treat some of the most serious, life-threatening diseases. That leaves many families facing financial hardships.

Because biosimilars are so much less expensive, they can save lives and considerable cut costs of many medical treatments.  A win-win for families all over the country.

Telehealth

Just as mobile apps are making healthcare easier and more convenient, and so is a trend called Telehealth.  Telehealth is a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education.  The possibilities are endless and promise to bring many services to not only patients, but to doctors as well.  Two types that are making healthcare easier than ever are live video and remote patient monitoring.

Video streaming between a person (patient or caregiver) and a provider may serve as a substitute for an in-person encounter when it is not available. It can also allow for a medical team to meet and determine the best care for patients that have doctors in multiple locations for different medical issues.  Running around town to make it to different doctors for consultations may soon be a thing of the past.  Imagine having all of your doctors on the same call to discuss medical treatments.

With the revolution of items like Fitbit, it should come as no surprise that remote patient monitoring, or RPM, is gaining in popularity.   RPM uses technology to monitor patients outside of conventional clinical settings (e.g., in the home), which can increase access to care and decrease healthcare delivery costs.  Using RPM in chronic disease management can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life. Individuals can maintain independence and minimize personal costs.  Imagine a child with diabetes being monitored remotely on the playground, instead of in the hospital. Or a father with heart disease spending more time at home with his family, instead of in the doctor’s office.  All of these are reasons many are so excited about telehealth.