One of the issues with healthcare today, some futurists reason, is that it focuses more on reactive medicine. When you get hurt or sick, you go to the doctor and get treatment. That’s fine for some things, but if that random pain turns out to be a serious condition, you (and your insurance company) could be paying out a lot of money. That’s why healthcare will ultimately shift its focus to preventive instead of reactive care. This means keeping you from getting sick in the first place, as well as catching things early before they become big problems.
Obviously, not everything can be prevented, but you can lessen the risk factors for the most common diseases. Heart disease, for example, is the leading cause of death in the United States. Some of the risk factors include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and inactivity — and all of them are actionable. But many people don’t realize the risks until they have a heart attack. We often ignore warning signs, and we don’t always get regular check-ups (sometimes because we can’t afford them). We also aren’t very good about educating ourselves. Not only is this bad for us personally but it also puts a strain on the system — treating an illness costs much more in both time and money than taking steps to prevent it in the first place. Futurists like Jim Carroll believe that within the next 10 years or so, wellness programs will be considered an integral part of most organizations. They’ll even offer incentives for employees who participate and meet their goals and penalize those who don’t.
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