Telemedicine. Data sharing. Mobile apps. Battling diseases and mental illness.
Technology plays a part in many aspects of health and wellness now, and will continue to be an important problem-solving tool in the future, Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer told the Board of County Commissioners at the November Long Term Advisory Council meeting.
The meeting was a way for various sectors — including agriculture, business, education, health, technology, recreation and arts, and public safety — to discuss what they will need to be competitive 30 years from now.
“Health and wellness is more than healthcare delivery,” Singer said on behalf of the health cluster. “Our group recognized the health and wellness of people in Carroll County is not just treating health care, but factors that will promote people staying healthy both physically and emotionally: education, economic stability, social and community connectedness, the built environment in which we live, and health care.”
And although the ways technology will affect the evolution of health and wellness are still unknown as the field constantly changes, one thing the health officer does know, he said, is that providing infrastructure for that technological growth will be key.
“We envision the work force in the health industry will struggle to meet the needs of an aging population,” said Singer. “We do not believe it’s possible to plan what specific project will emerge with technological advances, but it will rely heavily on technological infrastructure.”
Telemedicine will continue to grow so medical professionals can see more clients, and although confidentiality is important, Singer said it will be imperative to “remove the barriers to legitimate data sharing to ensure medical and other providers have the information they need to make the best decisions for their clients.”
There will also be more apps on phones and online wellness training tools.
In considering what the community will need to stay healthy in the future, though, the health cluster also considered likely problems — like the effects of sedentary, remote jobs and the ability for many to avoid trips to the store by having anything they need delivered via drones.
“Sedentary careers will necessitate planning considerations to encourage physical activities, [and an] increased need for social interaction to maintain mental health as contact with coworkers decrease from working remotely or teleworking,” Singer said.