I was debating merits of DIY healthcare with my buddy, Brian Klepper, PhD -healthcare analyst and pundit extraordinaire – the other day. He is not a fan, preferring instead to have better, stronger, more informed, technologically enabled physicians working in accountable care organizations. I am also a big believer in ACOs, patient-centered medical homes, and informed physicians, and all that stuff, but I think increasingly health care consumers (aka patients) are going to want to control more of their healthcare than they are currently able to do today.
The internet has made medical information more accessible than ever before. People with serious illnesses and/or chronic diseases sometimes end up knowing more about their condition than their physicians. But reading and understanding a medical condition is only scratching the tip of the consumer empowerment iceberg. What I am really interested in exploring is how technology can be used to further drive a true “consumer-directed healthcare” revolution.
Now I want to make it clear I am not proposing that people do their own surgery (although some have done it). Nor am I proposing self-prescription of expensive and/or potentially toxic therapeutics. But I am talking about consumers being able to order their own lab tests without involving a physician…and self-prescription of certain categories of medications (e.g.,statins).