Friday, November 27, 2015

Internet Addiction or not . . .

It doesn't matter whether we're talking Facebook, smart phone, games or just flat-out online addiction; we collectively have a problem. Blah, blah you've it all heard it before. 

However, let me ramble in the opposite direction today.

Here in The Villages, Florida* it's the counter example, with health care online for free medical advice, insurance, vision testing etc. It's all there but not accessed by those who need it most. The cyber revolution doesn't penetrate as deeply into the elder community as you might think. Or at least not as much as my hooked-up friends and cyber acquaintances would indicate.

I have heard statements like: "I can send my grandkid a eBirthday card, well actually my wife does that." and "I can make a tee time but I only learned that because they never answer the phone at the golf course."

Last week I focused on what the huge medical community has done with online access. You can see your test results in real time, just as your physician does. I was able to access my brother's knee X-rays from a few years back both before and after this replacement surgery. 

Questions get answered the same day when posted in a private forum with your doctor and/or nurse practitioner. Appointments are made, rescheduled and confirmed electronically. 

But when I asked at three local clinics about usage, I was told it's no better than 50% among the 'youngsters' (under 70) but rapidly decreases as the patient's age goes up.

Personally, I know more than your average patient, being that I do not subscribe to the god/physician myth; yet, I was able to locate detailed information on medications and treatments via the various cyber-access ports, information I had previously had to search as far as medical journals to find.

The internet is a incredible resource for medical information, an informed patient really is a boon to the medical establishment not a hinderance as you might think. Yet, the information waiting out there is not being accessed by those most in need.

End today's rambling ponder.


*The US Census ranked The Villages as the fastest-growing U.S. city for the third year in a row (during the 12 months ended July 2015); The Villages nearly tripled in size since 2010: about 120,000 people now live in the community. The development lies in central Florida, 45 miles northwest of Orlando.

**2017 update for The Villages, Florida: 1800 new homes being added this year and next and next. Population now 135,000.

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