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DIY hacks to a healthy life

In the fourth chapter of their book, The Digital Pill: What Everyone Should Know about the Future of Our Healthcare System, the authors Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch, Christoph Franz, and Prof. Dr. Andreas Herrmann look at the topic of do-it-yourself medicine.

The authors lay out the ways in which over the past decades patients have slowly become clients or customers who are often pro-actively looking to address health issues or to prevent them. A wealth of technological advancements such as self-tests and wearable diagnostic devices have enabled this shift, as well as companies such as Babylon Health who have created triage and self-service platforms for patients.

Fleisch et al. highlight some of the positive and negative aspects of this trend, criticising the lack of guidance from experts offered to individuals interpreting test results or internet entries on physical health symptoms. While symptom checker sites can provide a wealth of information and patient forums can connect you with others who suffer from the same disease, it can be hard to evaluate some of the information. Additionally, confirmation bias can often lead us to incorrect self-diagnoses which can cause distress. Sometimes, we can become so worried about and obsessed with our health, that we can spend a vast amount of time looking for information online. This has led to emerging of the term “cyberchondria” – a type of health anxiety heightened by internet searches.

This book chapter discusses a number of different DIY medicine trends and reviews some of the most innovative companies in this field.

Would you like to learn more about the topic of digitalisation of healthcare? The English version of the book, “The Digital Pill: What Everyone Should Know about the Future of Our Healthcare System is available online and in book shops (see references below).

References:
Fleisch, E., Franz, C. and Herrmann, A. (2021). The Digital Pill: What Everyone Should Know about the Future of Our Healthcare System, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78756-676-7. doi.org: 10.1108/978-1-78756-675-020211015. Learn more here.

Fleisch, E., Franz, C., Herrmann, A., Mönninghoff, A., Die digitale Pille: Eine Reise in die Zukunft unseres Gesundheitssystems, Campus Verlag: Frankfurt a.M., Deutschland. Learn more here.

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