Over the last 20 years the banks have gotten us addicted to using their ATM machines. Their television commercials even have people dancing beside them because they’re so convenient. In recent years they’ve also been pushing online banking. You can bank from your computer and, lately, even your phone. You are ready for that, right?
Now “online banking” is coming to your health and medical transactions. Depending on where you live and your health insurance provider (if you have insurance), you may already be wired. But it is now coming fast for the rest of us. Before long the United States will be wired for health care. That means the computers in your hospital’s radiology department will actually “talk” to the ones in the separate laboratory company you may use and your primary care doctor’s office will be linked with them too. There’s more: specialty doctors outside your local hospital or clinic will also be able to see your medical information and test results. But here’s the biggie: you will too! Across the U.S. the infrastructure has been coming together to not only connect doctors with doctors and hospitals with clinics but also you with your doctor and your medical records. Even with an understandable form of your bill.
That means your child’s immunization records, a parent’s blood test results, even ultrasound images will all be accessible to you and your health care team. You won’t have to ask someone to look it up in a file. It will be at your fingertips. And, we are assured, your privacy will be protected.
Big players are in this space: Microsoft, Google, Intel and some names known to health care folks that have billions behind them, including companies like GE.
The bottom line is this - before long you will store your health records online, email with your doctor, check on your parent’s health issues (with their permission), look up lab results, chart your weight and blood pressure – all from your home computer or your smartphone. And you’ll get reminders to help you stay healthy. It’s all possible now in many areas. My point is, like online banking and ATM’s, millions of us will do it.