The River of Health is Moving

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Twenty years ago, the most important engineering landmark in the city of Choluteca, Honduras was a silver-colored bridge arching across the river into the city, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch struck, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record. The Category 5 storm dumped as much as 75 inches of rain, and the water levels along the Choluteca River reached 33 feet above its banks. About 35,000 buildings were destroyed.

The massive bridge stood strong.

But the river moved, rendering it irrelevant.

In the 21st century, the river of healthcare is moving. People are taking health into their own hands.

The hospitals and systems of our healthcare infrastructure are impressive, enduring engineering achievements. But in the 21st century, the river of healthcare is moving. People are taking health into their own hands.

When we asked our community the question “Do you think an app will improve your health?” an overwhelming 85% said yes.

The center of gravity of healthcare has moved from hospitals to outpatient offices and from clinics to the home. Now it is mobile. Even when people are at home or in the hospital, they access people, information, and tools from their mobile devices. And networked e-patients (empowered, engaged, equipped patients) are the rising tide of healthcare. Better yet, even before people are patients, they are already engaging with their health as people, as citizens.

The rapidly emerging world of digital health and mobile tools can help us span the river where it is today, connecting us, and inviting us to understand and to be understood.

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