In his book, the Apology, the Greek philosopher Plato claimed that an “unexamined life is not worth living.” I want to use that mantra as the cornerstone of my mission to improve health by educating and empowering the consumer. An ideal health care system is democratized and facilitates creativity by enabling consumers to gain insight into their health with data based exploration and experimentation. I believe that in order to significantly improve health care outcomes, the most important stakeholder – the patient – must become an active and willing participant in their health. The conventional model of health care delivery assumes a one-way transaction in which practitioners provide care and patients consume it, with “health” as the primary outcome. However, health is not something that can be handed to people; it is a state that everyone must produce themselves by judiciously interacting with the health care system. Individuals create self-health and providers should be tasked to support their journey while decreasing exposure to iatrogenesis.
Medicine and healthcare delivery in the United States is drowning with the burdens of poorly managed chronic diseases and the resultant lack of cost containment. The gains in life expectancy from the mid to late 20th century have largely stagnated and even started to decrease for certain demographics. The current technological, cultural, and health delivery paradigms are ill-suited to stymie the progression of an increasingly aging and disease riddled population. However, we are potentially at an inflection point that will drive the next revolution in health care. Informatics paired with genomics will be the primary drivers of this revolution as they will provide unprecedented insight into disease progression and will dramatically how we treat, monitor, manage, and prevent diseases. Digital technologies and bioinformatics will usher in the era of personalized medicine where health care will not only be customized to an individual’s genomic data but disease progression will be monitored and managed via the combination of traditional serum biomarkers and wearable but unobtrusive digital technology that is seamlessly woven into the daily workflow. These technologies will yield real-time data to the health care provider who will have the tools to transform this data into knowledge and ultimately drive data-driven decision making with risks and benefits of each intervention accurately mapped. This personalized data will be the basis of a therapeutic alliance that will enable effective and practical health, lifestyle, and surveillance solutions that will stymie or even prevent the onset of disease and aging.