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The medical profession is populated by individuals, many of whom have had years of training to equip themselves for a vocation that will always be needed by society. There are thousands of dedicated staff committed to improving health or curing health conditions. The notion that the future of health service practices will necessitate transferring health responsibilities to others without health practice backgrounds is clearly unpalatable to most health practitioners, especially if funding and livelihoods are threatened. The reality is that such change is inevitable as technology empowers us with the tools to take more control over our lives.
For the NHS to make a fresh start, we need that consumer empowerment to be linked to responsibility. If we have better tools to monitor our health embedded into our daily lives, we should also accept the consequences of our lifestyle habits. Currently the model for the NHS and Health Insurance provides little incentive to change those habits but, as we are already seeing with motor insurance policies linked to in-car technologies that monitor how well we are driving and offers discounts to drivers who can prove they have good driving practices, these technologies offer incentives for behaviours which reduce risk of accidents.
Encouraging the voluntary use of wearable lifestyle technologies that collect valuable data about the daily habits that can best improve our lives is, in my opinion, the most cost effective way to avoid the obesity “slow-motion” car crash that could destroy the health service as we know it. It would require leadership and vision to implement a “tough love” strategy in which those who contribute to good personal health management are encouraged and rewarded whilst those whose lifestyle habits place a burden on health resources bear some of the cost consequences.