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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

America is addicted to technology. A variety of technologies have invaded every aspect of life and molded the American culture. The prevailing opinion and most of the readily available evidence indicate that society benefits from this influence. However, in nature and physics for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Close examination indicates there are insidious influences of technology with profound impact.

Two recent books illustrate the point. One is "The End of Medicine" by Andy Kessler and the other is "Insurgents, Terrorists and Militias" by Richard H. Schultz and Andrew J Dew. Mr. Kessler expresses a view that technology can and will transform medicine. Mr. Schultz and Mr. Dew note that a determined, resourceful and tenacious foe fighting on their home ground is extremely difficult to defeat with technology alone.

Improving the process of record keeping, transmitting health information, education of the consumer, assessing health risk and early detection of disease are not new ideas and technology will facilitate each of these processes. However, curing health problems by means of more health care and more technology is proving to be less than effective or efficient.

The differentiation for perspective on health care is at the point of thinking in terms of cure and prevention. The highest, most effective and most efficient technology in health is the human body. Both cure and prevention utilize this technology but prevention requires a mode of thinking and action prior to disease. Society badly needs to instill primary prevention into the lives of all citizens. Ultimately, the best way to transform medicine is to improve health status, and prevention beats cure hands down in this arena.

Technology often works against healthy lifestyle leading to less physical activity, providing food that interferes with optimum metabolism, supplying substances that are toxic to metabolism, creating stressful situations and polluting the environment. These are the issues of public health that are more basic to optimum health status than medical care.

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