A recent article in the Washington Post discussed the new use of mobile information technology in revamping the health care system. Ritu Agarwal, founder and director of the Center for Health Information at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, suggests an alternative to the current system. He suggests the creation and implementation of mobile technology that tracks and maintains the users information regarding health and their behaviors, ultimately serving as a constant reminder to stay on track. He calls for a restructuring of how Americans do health care to “personalized medicine,” where medicine, prevention, and treatment is entirely tailored to the individual.
In the American system of scientific medicine, doctors take a passive role in responding to patient’s systems as they arise. The holistic approach involves the individuals lifestyle and emphasizes prevention over treatment. So is it possible that the advent of mobile information technology can actually create a more holistic approach to healthcare? Could technology be used to help return the ways of our world to its more natural roots?
I believe so. But I also believe it could be used for much more. In many developing countries the current health care systems are so inefficient and poorly managed that the implementation of “personalized medicine” would be meaningless. However, the International Telecommunications Industry’s 2012 report gives evidence that mobile technology is on the rise. Globally, active mobile broadband subscriptions increased nearly 40% from 2010 to 2011. This growth jumps to nearly 80% in the developing world in the same year . With the ubiquitous of mobile technology, couldn’t this “personalized healthcare” approach be transformed to “personal development.” Imagine software that helps an individual track their budget, warns them when an area has becomes dangerous, informs a woman on methods to confront her husband regarding contraception. Development, as we all know, is not one size fits all. What if we could tailor development to the individual?