Friday, March 6, 2009

The Importance of Self-Care

Addressing the challenge of self-care is the most important health issue of the 21st century.

Over the past century there has been a tremendous advance in overall health due to advances in health-care technologies: in medical science, in the education and practices of healthcare professionals, and in efforts devoted to public health. These advances have led to a huge improvement in the overall health of society, enabling people to live much longer and to avoid and survive diseases and accidents that would have been deadly in the past. Because of these reductions in the impact of catastrophic events beyond our control, health is now much more a function of people's own daily, ongoing decisions and activities. People's state of health is much more dependent on their ability to take care of themselves and the actions that they take in their daily lives. Yet, people are struggling in their efforts, as is clear from prevalence and continued rapid growth of chronic illnesses.

"Healthcare" is really "sick care". The healthcare industry, the medical profession, are there to fix you up, as best as they can, when your health gets really bad. But, they can do little for your day-to-day health, as doctors and nurses simply cannot be by your side all the time. Healthcare is not scalable to continuing care. The paradigm of healthcare is simply inappropriate to addressing the current situation where chronic illness is the major health issue.

For the next great improvement in health, what is needed is a tremendous advance in self-care capabilities.

I'm trying to do something about this through my efforts in leading Zume Life. Zume Life's vision is to empower and motivate individuals to become fully and effectively engaged in managing their own health. It is our experience that most people are genuinely interested in being in the best possible health and that a supportive, positive and motivating environment combined with convenient and effective tools can significantly improve self-care efforts. Additionally, we believe that healthcare professionals can more effectively assist them if they have a better picture of their patients’ day-to-day health and if their patients have the tools to better implement and adhere to the prescribed regimen.

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