What if we applied the agile and open principles of technology and the internet to the practice and business of medicine and health care?

As medical research and technology converge and advance us toward an increasingly quantified self we will have unprecedented insight, choice, and control over how we live.

As we gain access to and understanding of enormous amounts of personal and population data, health care will shift away from primarily discretionary diagnosis and treatment decisions to expert support and guidance toward optimal outcomes. As patients and consumers become more engaged and informed we’ll see a shift away from reactive, need-based care toward proactive, collaborative decision making.

Crucial aspects of engagement, treatment, and payment will be merged. 

Forget the fossilized health care debates. The current infrastructure will not support this paradigm shift. We need to take a new approach that focuses on enabling the future; allowing technology, data, and knowledge to transcend the boundaries of institutions and nations, supporting the kind of collaboration that leads to true innovation and evolution.

But where do we start?

So much is happening with “Big Data” and “Health IT”. It’s long overdue. I’m excited, and I’m worried. Despite best intentions - are we perpetuating the existing silo’d, fractured frankensystem? I hear about scalability, interoperability, and portability - but above all I hear profitability.

Is anyone paying attention to the cumulative details and ensuring the future of medicine and health care will indeed be more accessible, more open, more transparent? 

Maybe I’m too cynical or paranoid but the current culture of corruption and obstruction requires constant vigilance.

Who or what will own the future of global health care? Who or what will administer it? Who or what will maintain it? Who or what will ensure sensitive data remains both secure and useful to the public? How? 

As usual I have more questions than answers. So I suppose I’ll start by asking them out loud, sharing, and encouraging that we consciously think about these things.

If you’re working in the health care space - developing or influencing technology - have you considered the big picture? What are your goals?