Will consumers change health care?

Taking health care into our own hands
Health care: In our own hands

Health care spending has grown faster than the economy in the last decade. While Canada’s 2008 GDP went down 1.2%, our health care expenditures grew about 3.3%. Ontario, as well as other Canadian provinces spends over 45% of the provincial budget on health.

This is not just a Canadian issue as evidenced by the heated debates over health care in the United States and all around the world. As with any complex issues there will be more than one solution but it seems that consumer-directed health care and a focus on wellness will be a part of the solution.

The rapidly developing field of cognitive fitness is a case in point: the relatively new sector is driven by the consumer’s interest to retain mental sharpness. This in turn has fueled the interest of gaming companies, health care and insurance providers, neuroscientists and geriatric researchers to develop and test cognitive assessment and cognitive training products.

The inaugural industry summit (Jan 18-20) will bring together a diverse group of players to explore trends and standards in this new consumer-centric health care category. It remains to be seen what effect cognitive fitness will have on the cost of health care globally. But it is clear that technology provides the means to make consumers (who are not yet patients) part of the solution.

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