Pinch me. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared there was a 20 percent decrease in new cases of diabetes last year. Today, they announced that infant mortality rates in the U.S. have dropped to their lowest levels ever. These are two statistics that are incredibly meaningful, and a breath of fresh air, for an industry that is usually barraged with news about how expensive and broken healthcare is.
Drilling down, no single factors jump out as being responsible for these improvements. Lifestyle changes, prenatal education, improvements in primary care and community safety nets are likely all contributing. Taken collectively, these two simple statistics, combined with key consumer trends such as big data, personalized care and digital medicine, suggest that the importance of consumer engagement as a means to improve health and wellbeing may be reaching a tipping point.
I have always believed that it is human nature to want to be healthy. Things just get in the way. As more and more healthcare industry executives understand the opportunities (and also invest REAL dollars) to deeply engage consumers in staying healthy, taking better care of themselves or seeking treatments when ill (and making it easier for them to do so!), I believe even better news lies ahead. It has been five years since the federal text4baby prenatal health campaign was launched. Clearly using new communications platforms, from social to mobile, must be working. As a communications professional at an agency that sits at the intersection of healthcare and technology, I’m so encouraged.