WebMD and the Future of Self-Help Healthcare

January 7, 2009

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When you’re sick, you notice a few things.  You notice that sitting on the couch all day is boring.  You notice that reading emails, reading Tweets, and doing anything else that involves comprehending what’s on your computer screen is difficult.  But you also realize that there have been great advances in healthcare recently, and there are certainly many more on the way.

WebMD did something that should have been very obvious, and assembled all the information available about healthcare onto one website.  Allowing any Joe Schmo with a computer and internet access to “self-diagnose”, the website makes it easy to find out what’s wrong, and what you need to do to feel better.  This is all quite simple once you have the necessary amount of information.  But it helps people feel a little more comfortable, even if it is just knowing that the information is available when you need it.

But what’s next?  There are so many ways that we can help people look after themselves in times of need.  We can empower the sick to be stronger and more independent using advances in science and technology that were unimaginable only a short time ago.

As Google and other companies work within the healthcare industry to establish an online database of health records, healthcare should become a lot easier.  With an increased access to medical history, people are better prepared to deal with minor health problems and treatments on their own.  We can now begin to personalize the healthcare process outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices.

This has led or will lead to such things as advanced illness detection devices as part of your home computer, automated treatment delivery systems, advanced robotic treatments, electronic alert and notification systems for the chronically ill, and many more.  We can treat ourselves more effectively, and give doctors a way to stay on top of their patients more efficiently.  This can go a long way to helping people live a healthier, and more importantly, a happier life.

If you or someone you know is taking advantage of a great advancement in modern healthcare, let me know about it here by posting a comment or emailing me at ztheller@gmail.com.  Let’s spread the word and see what kind of progress can be made in the years to come.  Thanks.

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