The evolution in medicine in my lifetime has been amazing. With the advent of the internet, this evolution is becoming more rapid. Our collective knowledge is greater than the sum of its parts. Back on the prairie, your doctor may have only known how to treat an ailment if he’d seen it before. Or maybe he could go over to the next town and ask that doctor if he’d seen it before. Now, there’s Google.
If we as a whole, decided to make our medical records public, just think of the evolution we could make almost instantaneously.
I’m not suggesting that we include identifiable data with our medical records, only that we submit the records themselves.
In order for us to gain knowledge we have to come in contact with it. Like our doctors on the prairie, unless we know someone who has a certain condition, we don’t really think about it. However, if you know so and so used to have migraines and she doesn’t now, when you get a migraine you run to ask her how she fixed it.
Imagine, everyone in the world was at your fingertips. You get a migraine and you access the medical records of everyone who ever had a migraine. You find out that 1,000 people cured their migraines by doing A, B, and C. You could try those three things, and see if it works for you.
While migraines are surely life altering, what if you condition was actually life threatening? When you are diagnosed with something like cancer, you immediately seek out experts in cancer. You don’t stay with you family doctor. You go straight to the people who deal with cancer. What if your cancer is “unique”? What if your cancer isn’t behaving like anything they’ve ever seen before? How likely is it that someone, somewhere, has had a similar experience? Pretty darn likely. If medical records were public, you wouldn’t have to rely on fate, you could rely on research.
But Annie, if my insurance company finds out I have hair cancer, they’ll drop me.
Pardon my insensitivity here, but, so?
I think insurance is the single worst thing that has happened to medical innovation that has ever happened.
Think about it. You pay the insurance company, so you don’t have to pay the doctor, so the doctor has to fight with the insurance company who doesn’t want to pay the doctor, who then comes after you for the money, you didn’t think you’d have to pay. What if you just forked over the $100 office visit and saved the $300/month you’re paying to insurance so you only have to pay $25 to the doctor.
You would take more charge of your own health. If you knew that you would have to pay out of pocket for your own treatment in all cases but the catastrophic? Wouldn’t you take better care of it? If you knew that getting diabetes would cost you personally thousands of dollars a month, instead of the premium and copay. You’d be more inclined to try diet and exercise as opposed to a pill. You would do everything you could to lower your health care costs.
Don’t get me wrong, if I get hit by a bus, I want a well trained doctor to put me back together. However, having had an autoimmune disorder that I’ve had to hack myself, I have a different perspective on whether I want to be treated by them for a chronic illness. I’d rather go to a nurse practitioner than a specialist in many cases because I get better health care from the nurses.
Think about it for awhile before you come to a conclusion. I think it would really revolutionize medicine around the world. I don’t think privacy is much of an issue anymore, in that I don’t believe it exists at all. We put everything else online, putting our medical records out there for the world to see could save untold costs of unnecessary treatments. It could save months or even years of ineffective treatments.
You don’t have to agree, but promise me you’ll ponder it for awhile before you decide.
Until next time, be awesome!
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My name is Annie, I am a Fitness and Nutrition Unstructor. I help women who have lived by the rules their whole lives, unlearn the habits and misinformation that is keeping them from living their lives to the fullest.