Self-managed health is a rapidly growing trend in healthcare today. New tools and technologies seek to democratize healthcare by providing access to better health information, and enabling consumers to make better health decisions.
Theranos: Revolutionizing Blood Testing
One of the most innovative companies in health is Theranos, which is revolutionizing blood testing by making it more efficient and affordable. Theranos utilizes nanotechnology applied to medical diagnosis, and allows hundreds of tests to be conducted from only a single drop of blood.
How affordable is Theranos? According to the New Yorker, a cholesterol test from Theranos administered at Walgreens will cost $2.99 compared to $50 for a typical lab test. The Cleveland Clinic is also partnering with Theranos, and will be performing its own tests to see how results compare to traditional tests before employing Theranos widely across its health system.
Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes believes more affordable testing means more people will choose to be tested, and get preventative treatment.
“I think this question about preventative medicine is about the individual, and about the consumer. There is this incredible opportunity that we have to connect and engage with individuals in such a way that they can begin to love the products and services that result in changing their lives.” – Elizabeth Holmes
Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to work on her company in stealth mode. Now 31, she is the youngest self-made billionaire to make the Fortune 2015 Female Billionaire List, while demonstrating that “financial power and doing good don’t have to be mutually exclusive.” Listen to more in this interview with Holmes at the Computer History Museum.
Iodine: A Suite of Tools for Health Information
While at Wired, Thomas Goetz, also an advocate for empowering patients, re-imagined the way blood testing data could be presented. His TED talk on visualizing medical data has been viewed more than 400,000 times. Goetz and former Google employee Matt Mohebbi have used their experience in the design and communication of healthcare data to co-found Iodine.
Iodine’s mission is “to build tools that help people understand their health and improve their healthcare choices.”
Iodine says 23 percent of American consumers are searching for drug information online, and are not satisfied with what they find. Iodine’s primary tool is built so consumers can:
- research medications by generic or brand name,
- get relevant information provided by medical experts, and
- read valuable experiences submitted by other patients.
Consumers can also use a cost tool to compare drug prices depending on insurance coverage.
Iodine’s Medical Translator
Tools with Expertise
As consumers get access to better health information, they still need to have context around these tools. Connected health means providers are engaged for shared decision-making.
“Providers go through decades of training to help them separate the spurious or benign data point from the serious. It is important for consumers to have access to this information, but that information should be accompanied by context.” – Harry Greenspun MD
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