On the Road to Retail Health: HealthcareDIY and Primary Care, Everywhere

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn | Health Populi | January 25, 2012

Signs of retail health are all around us, popping up as the primary care shortage/maldistribution drives pent-up demand among consumers for accessible, convenient, well-priced quality services and products. This is HealthcareDIY. 52% of U.S. adults have done something to self-ration care in the traditional health care system such as skipping prescription fills (both initial and re-fills), cutting pills, postponing visits to doctors and dentists even when feeling unwell, and forgoing recommended medical tests.

At the same time, many health citizens are relying on home remedies, over-the-counter products, self-tracking devices, and other self-health tactics to manage health outside of the doctor’s office and hospital ambulatory clinic. All well and good–to a point. It will be important to get patient data aggregated so that we can receive real-time feedback and therapeutic advice to improve our self-care efforts. It is early days for this. It is encouraging to see that Withings’ BP device will communicate to doctors’ offices. Most self-tracking devices can’t do this, yet, but we are on the way toward that data-liquid environment based on open standards and opening the kimono of APIs.

Runkeeper enabled self-trackers (like me) put our personal data collected by different devices on one “dashboard” in a Health Graph. This is a start...