Smart Phones and Smart Patients

(©Glowimages / Stock photo)
(©Glowimages / Stock photo)

“Ultimately, if we want to fix American medicine we will need skeptical and smart patients to dominate,” advises Dr. Oz, according to an article¹ in The New Yorker.

Today, more and more, wise health consumers think for themselves. They ask questions, gather information, consider different choices, and make wise and well-informed decisions when it comes to their health.

According to current data from PewInternet.org:

    • 59% of U.S. adults (130 million) looked online for health information within the past year;
    • 45% of U.S. adults use smart-phones and 52% of them (over 50 million) gather health information on their phones;
    • 20% of smart-phone owners (approximately 20 million) have an app that helps them track or manage their health.

In the same article, Dr. Oz said of smart patients, “They will need to ask the hard questions, because much of medicine is just plain old logic. So I am out there trying to persuade people to be those patients. And that often means telling them what the establishment doesn’t want them to hear: that their answers are not the only answers, and their medicine is not the only medicine.”¹

Indeed, patients are finding that there are effective alternatives to aid in achieving health. Studies² in recent years have found that more than one third of U.S. adults (over 73 million) report using some form of complementary and alternative medicine, spending upwards of $34 billion a year out-of-pocket for this. Keeping this in perspective, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report that our nation’s annual health expenses have reached $2.8 trillion.

Dr. Donald Ardell, in his book entitled, “The NEW edition of High Level Wellness – An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease” (pg 343) writes, “Spirituality is the elusive issue that lies at the heart of a well-managed and examined wellness lifestyle”.

Health consumers are finding that prayer and spirituality are an effective choice in seeking better health, as born out by these statistics³:

    • 36% of Americans surveyed reported that they had experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury;
    • 49% of adults said that they had prayed about their health during the previous 12 months;
    • 58% of Americans surveyed reported that they pray at least once a day;
    • 75% of Americans surveyed reported that they pray at least once a week.

I fall into all four categories mentioned above. Seeking a connection with the divine through Bible-based prayer has resulted in good health.

Regardless of the choices each of us makes, when it comes to being wise health consumers, perhaps this Biblical injunction is advice well heeded: “Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.” (KJV Job 34:4)

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References
PewInternet.org, a project of The Pew Research Center: Health Online 2013Mobile Health 2012
U.S. Census Bureau, Age and Sex Composition 2010, page 2: Table 1 – Population by Sex and Selected Age Groups: 2000 and 2010
¹  The Operator by Michael Specter, The New Yorker, February 4, 2013
² (a) More than 1/3 of adults in the U.S. report that they have pursued some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) according to a 2005 report entitled Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States produced by the Institute of Medicine at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (use link to purchase report or download free PDF version).
(b) Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the previous 12 months according to a 2007 government survey by National Health Statisics Reports and reported by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.
(c) National health expenditures data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (see page 4).
³ (a) 36% of Americans surveyed reported that they had experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury. Study: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life /2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (page 188).
(b) 49% of adults said in 2007 that they had prayed about their health during the previous 12 months, up from 43% in 2002 and up from 14% in 1999.  Report published in 2011 by The American Psychological Association: National Trends in Prayer Use as a Coping Mechanism for Health.
(c) 58% of Americans surveyed reported that they pray at least once a day and 75% of Americans surveyed reported that they pray at least once a week. Study: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life /2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (select Beliefs and Practices/Frequency of Prayer).
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