Health and Wellness on the Internet – The Future

The demand for medical information online was highlighted in an article in The Telegraph in October 2010 (‘Finding Health Information on the Internet’ published 15/10/10). According to the survey quoted, 65 percent of those questioned chose to look online for answers to medical queries, compared with 43 percent who would ask their doctor first, 27 percent who looked to television programmes and just 14 percent who trusted government health information services.
The most influential force is likely to be the UK Government’s intention to overhaul English health provision as set out in the November 2010 White Paper ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’. According to the paper ‘centralisation has failed’ and the Government is seeking to create a ‘public health service, not just a national sickness service’. The aim is to decentralise the healthcare system in England with a view to eliminating negative living environments and poor lifestyle habits and the intention is that this is done locally with the involvement of business and the community. The White Paper does not say how this will be done specifically (details are to be published at a later date) and how well the plan will work remains to be seen but the important point to note is that the Government wants to embrace a notion of holistic care. Political agendas and opinions to one side, it is fair to say that Governmental policy is likely to dictate trends in the wellness and fitness industries.
Where does this leave health on the net? The White Paper does not specifically mention this but considering that the internet is already extensively used by the NHS in providing health care, it is reasonable to suggest that it will become even more pivotal. At the moment, everything from booking appointments Children’S Medical Center Dayton Ohio on line to downloading leaflets; sharing research and professional networking to joining support groups can be done via the internet and the more holistic, patient and community centred healthcare that the Government is proposing will only cement the role of IT in healthcare even further.
But with the wealth of information out there, what kind of reassurance is there that the information you are accessing is accurate and safe? According to Street doctor Jonty Heaversedge, (quoted in the above Telegraph article) it is best to leave diagnosis up to a professional but that there is a great deal of good that can be gained from people Medical Centre Synonym getting involved in their own health by using the internet to maintain their wellbeing and even help improve existing and professionally diagnosed conditions. He went on the say that ‘when used wisely, the internet helps us with what is a shared responsibility: your future health’ and this certainly reflects the Government’s outlined intentions.
The message seems to be that the internet will be used more and more as a springboard to help everyone access reliable face to face healthcare. Of course, checking accreditation and qualifications is essential when contacting a professional but certainly the internet is going to be an essential tool in delivering holistic healthcare into the 21st century.