For years, there’s been a groundswell in the American healthcare system toward a holistic form of healthcare that prioritizes the total well-being of the patient. And while there’s still tremendous progress to be made, it’s exciting to see how technology is pushing the industry forward. But what does the future hold?
The Emergence of Holistic Care in Western Medicine
Look around the world and you’ll notice that there’s a significant rise in chronic health conditions due to aging, unhealthy behaviors, and environmental factors. The American healthcare system says prescription medication is the answer, while common sense and years of research suggest that a holistic approach yields better results. And though it’s been a long time coming, it looks like many American practitioners are coming around to the idea that a natural, well-rounded approach is superior.
While medicine does play a role in healing, it’s ultimately the human body that does the healing. Medicine simply provides the body with what it needs to jumpstart the healing process (or to remove whatever is inhibiting the healing process). Proper sleep habits, for example, have been shown to reduce the risk of depression by as much as 90 percent. It’s also been linked to better weight management, improved memory, sharpened attention, and longer lifespans.
Evolving research also shows that gut health – which can be cultivated and maintained through proper dietary habits – is closely linked to dozens of chronic diseases and illnesses (including conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease). The same goes for hydration, stress management, physical exercise, meditation, massage, acupuncture, and many other natural modes of healthcare.
There’s an entire world of healing that exists beyond prescription medication and invasive surgical procedures. Thankfully, the western healthcare system seems to be waking up to these facts and holistic healthcare approaches are gradually being introduced into mainstream medical care. At the heart of this shift is technology.
In order for holistic care to work well, the system must be structured in such a way that information is allowed to seamlessly flow from one practitioner to the next. In other words, we don’t need more data on patients – we need better methods for using the data that already exists.
“These data points are oftentimes left scattered across the community, only telling a partial story of a person; therefore, this disparate data must be aggregated, normalized and reconciled to form a single longitudinal record for each person – a comprehensive summary of a person’s health and care,” ADVANCE Healthcare Network mentions.
At the moment, platforms like SAP are revolutionizing healthcare with advanced digitization. Advanced tools are leading to faster response times for patient scheduling, better disease prevention, more strategic healthcare data warehousing, and advanced health data analytics.
“With technologies like SAP HANA we now have the power to comprehend various sources and formats of data in real-time. Scientific texts, clinical studies, proteomic data, genomic data… across any language can be viewed to identify trends and patterns,” industry insider Christine Donato writes. “With technologies that can store and analyze gargantuan data sets with accuracy and incredible speed, healthcare professionals can pull actionable insights to make more informed and better care decisions.”
Then there’s the rise of wearable technology, which is beneficial for both patients and their healthcare providers. These wearable devices – which include smartwatches, fitness trackers, and even embedded sensors that track vital signs – help identify the best treatment options based on current factors and more well-rounded data profiles.
The Future of Western Medicine
There’s no consensus on exactly where the healthcare industry is headed, but it’s clear that holistic care is much more involved than it ever was in the past. Thanks to evolving technology, there are countless opportunities for more cohesive care experiences. This establishes hope in a healthier future.