THE BLOG

Technology Can Help Us Live Longer

01/30/2013 12:55 am ET | Updated Mar 31, 2013

The world around us is changing minute by minute, and the way and how we communicate have markedly changed. Medicine is just part of the world that requires communication. Medicine is increasingly falling under the influence of new technologies to remind individuals when to take treatments, or when it's time to monitor one's vitals. The health care industry has become a technology-rich environment. The human-technology interface is rich for medical exploration, especially to combat some of the challenges that cause Americans -- more than their peer nations -- to have worse health, as highlighted by a number of recent news stories that discuss a report published by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. Technology supporting behavior change, resulting in healthier diets or in better management of chronic diseases, is just one area under trial and current exploration. The possibilities of what technology can do are endless.

Much is promised and much is justified on the basis it will improve our health and cost us less. For decades, the use of medical technology has been controlled by the medical profession, but with the expansion of personal mobile devices, it is moving into patients' hands. In this shifting scenario, it has been said that medicine is now more influenced by smart enabled technologies than by pharmaceuticals. As evidence mounts that innovations such as smart devices can improve the health and care of an individual, more resources must be focused on their development and integration into the health care system.

The assumption is that technology will increasing integrate smart devices into the overall care of the patient. But as Alan Kay said in 1971, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Verizon is determined to invent that future and help technology become more useable. To do so, the Verizon Foundation is reaching out to innovative healthcare providers and organizations to collaboratively build programs enabling them to integrate the use of technology to advance and improve health care. Recently, Verizon has been working with the Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research to bring health care to women in underserved areas. Since women frequently are the caregivers for their families while neglecting their own care, it seemed prudent to focus our joint effort on improving their care. If the women are comfortable using the smart devices, the families will follow. Every single person involved in this effort, and every health care provider who tries a new approach, is adding to the knowledge foundation we desperately need to incorporate the new mobile technologies into the medical world and help people manage their own health. The community expects mobile devices to improve health and we demand it.

For more by Florence P. Haseltine, Ph.D., M.D., click here.

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