Conversation Starter Technology and Health Choices

ConversationStarter:Technology andHealthChoices

ConversationStarter:Technology andHealthChoices

Technologyandmedicaladvancesare inevitablein thecontemporaryworldandtheycan impactconsumerchoiceseitherpositivelyandnegatively. Theobjectiveof medicalandtechnological advancesis to enhancethequalityof life,butthere are someinstancesin which theseadvancesinfluenceconsumerchoicesin negativeways.Thispaperwill addresstwo examplesof howmedicalandtechnological advanceshelpconsumersto makehealthychoicesandalsohowtheyhelpconsumersmakeunhealthychoices.

Technologicaladvanceshelpconsumerscomprehendthenutritional content of foodin retailshops.Thenewtechnology seeksto addressthechallengesof front-of-pack challengeswherethenutritionalcontent of foodon theshelvesis, in mostcases,toocomplicatedforconsumersto understand.Accordingto Dunford (2014) thegrowingratesof overweight andobesity in themodernworldcan be attributedto lackof nutritional informationabout differentfoodproductsorcomplicatedfront-of-pack labels.Technologists haveaddressedthesechallengesby developinga mobileapplicationthat providedconsumerswith informationabout al foodproductssimplelanguage(Dunford, 2014). Thisindicateshowtechnology can helpconsumersmakehealthychoicessince theywill be ableto selectfoodproductsthat will not affecttheir healthin a negativeway.

Computer-basedapplicationsallowthehealthcareprofessionalsto integrateclient’spreferenceswith scientificevidence,localconstraints,andthepatient’shistory.Thisgivespatientsan opportunityto makehealthychoicesforscreening andtreatmentdepending on their preferences(Eysenbach, 2000). Thistypeof computer-based decisionaidispreferredwhenthemanagementstrategyis dependenton thestrengthof theclient’spreferencesforvarioushealthoutcomes.Forexample,with thecurrentlevel of technological advances,thedecisionsystemforthechoiceof contraceptiveswill takeaccountof not onlythepersonalriskfactors(includingsmoking),butalsothevaluethattheclientplaceson variousoutcomes(Eysenbach, 2000).Therefore,computer-based aidshelptheconsumersof healthcareservicesmakehealthyandinformedchoices.

Althoughtechnologyandmedicaladvanceshavebeenshownto improvethequalityof consumers’healthanddecision-making,there are someinstancesthat theseadvancesleadto unhealthychoices.First,thedevelopmentof theinternet has resultedin theinformationoverload, which frustratesconsumersandmay leadto unhealthydecisions.Mostimportantly, thehighestpercentageof thewebpageson healthandnutritionare not credible.Forexample,Cline &amp Haynes (2001) morethan 30 million pagesthat can beaccessedontheinternet lackeditorialsystemandconsistentpeer-review. Manyusers of theinternet lackthecapacitytoassessthequalityof theinformationthat theyaccess,andthisresultsin unhealthychoices.Thisis commonamong consumerswhotrustanyinformationthat theycomeacross.

Secondly,technological advanceshaveescalatedthecostof healthto an extentthatconsumersof healthcareservicesare goingforlesseffectivehealthalternativesthattheycan afford.ConsumerResearch Council of America (2014) identifiedthatadvancesin medicaltechnology andmedicinehavemademedicaltreatmentto be moreexpensive.Therefore,qualityhealthcareis onlyaccessedby thewelldomembersof thesociety.Althoughthemiddleclassandthepoorunderstandtheimportanceof goingforqualitymedication,thehighcostof suchalternativesleavesthem with nootherchoicesotherthan goingforwhattheycan afford.Thisimpliesthattechnological andmedicaladvancescan forceconsumersto makeunhealthychoicesdepending on their financialstrengththat determinestheir capacityto affordtheseadvances.

Medicalandtechnological advancesaffectconsumerchoicesnegatively andpositively.Computer-based decisionaidshavegivenconsumersan opportunityto makeinformedchoices.Althoughthetechnological advancesprovideconsumerswith alotofinformationthat is usefulin makingchoices,failureto assessthequalityof suchinformationcan leadto unhealthychoices.In addition,medicalandtechnological advancesincreasethecostof health,which forcesconsumersto makeunhealthychoices.

References

Cline,R. &amp Haynes, K. (2001). Consumer health information seeking onthe internet: The state of the art. HealthEducation Research,16 (6), 671-692.

ConsumerResearch Council of America (2014). Healthcare today.Washington, DC: CRCA.

Dunford,E. (2014). Foodswitch: A mobile phone app to enable consumers to makehealthier food choices and crowd sourcing of national foodcomposition data. JMIR2 (3), 18.

Eysenbach,G. (2000). Consumer health informatics. BJMJournal,320 (7251), 1713-1716.