Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Medicine is so Young

I think its undeniable that one of the hottest topic of this year is health care. While I've been casually following the political discourse, its far from my inspiration for today's post. My one year old son, Wally, had a reaction to penicillin this week and I question why current medicine is still so reactive rather than proactive. Since allergies are something that can change and fluctuate, that led me to also wonder why we don't have more frequent testing too.

Standardized testing
I'm looking forward to the day when there is a standard battery of tests for allergies and conditions. It's beginning with the prenatal screenings available during both of my wife's pregnancies, but why, for instance, is there no standard allergy testing post-birth? From the perspective of a patient, current medicine waits for a reaction to an allergen which seems so dangerous to me.

Continuous diagnostics

When can I get my little implant that continuously monitors my blood-work and vitals? I've been dealing with the medical 'miscellaneous bucket' that is IBS for 6 years now and don't feel like I'll ever get an answer about what is really afflicting me. I see my doctor once a year, and she doesn't really seem to have an answer. I know, I know, demand answers, fight for myself, blah blah, that's not my point. It's currently not 'bad enough' to force me to demand anything yet. I bring up my current state during my annual checkup, and that's about all I feel I'm empowered to do right now. I strongly believe if there were a way to easily and continuously monitor medical data points (blood, hormone, etc) within my body and let me correlate that with the ebb and flow of symptoms there would be a much higher chance of being able to find the problem.

Online records

I've been 'using' Google Health since it was released last year. But my doctor's office has no tie to my account so I'm forced to update it by hand. Not to mention all my historical data is no where to be found. For the providers that Google Health does currently support linking, I have a 50% success rate getting them to work. I was able to link my CVS prescriptions but failed to link my Quest test results. When I followed Quest's instructions, the receptionist at the testing facility looked at me like I had three heads when I asked to get my results online. She had no idea what I was talking about.
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