WSJ's 'Doctor in Pocket…' overeggs the pudding

I see them (my two children) being able to monitor and adjust their health in real time with the help of smartphones, wearable gadgets—perhaps like small, invisible stickers—to track the inner workings of their cells, and virtual replicas of their bodies that they will play much like videogames, allowing them to know exactly what they can do to optimize every aspect of their health.

Except, of course, this does not look at the psychology of the young, hip and rudely healthy who would rather be hanging in the East Village and drinking (and smoking too–ooh) till 4am–or working hard at new careers and families–than spending time picking and poking their various cells in staving off (to them) the far-off prospects of disease and age. And who will really be looking at and judging the information? The patient, the doctor, a care manager?

One last howler:

Imagine how much better the Medicare system could be if all this data were analyzed to improve public health. Or imagine databases from many different sources, private and public, coming together in a centralized network that would look for patterns and try to translate them into new ideas for anticipating and preventing health problems.

The Medicare system I thought WAS a centralized network. Imagine my surprise in realizing that it wasn’t. And the US Government has a huge Public Health infrastructure, both outside and within the military. Do they not gather data? Oh, but it’s not integrated. Here we go again….

And of course all this information could be misused by employers, insurers…or just plain hacked. 

This is not to say that healthcare technology developers shouldn’t be following this star, but the naivete of articles like this, and the expectations it engenders in the general readership, is so 2005-6. At least to Ed. Donna. Nice vision though. A Doctor in Your Pocket (Wall Street Journal)

[Ed. Donna notes that a soberer view on how the new healthcare environment of PCMHs and ACOs, and easy to use mobile devices, can facilitate patient engagement in their own health is in Information Week’s Is 2012 The Year Of Online Patients?]