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Should You Take Healthcare Into Your Own Hands?



Who is in charge of your health?


Before you consider taking healthcare matters into your own hands, first you need to work out who is already responsible for your health. Is it the NHS GP who diagnosed your condition? Is it the institution who trained your doctor? Is it the drug company sales rep who convinced your GP this was the best medication? Is it the stock market investor who chose to pump £billions into one drug manufacturer over another? Or is it you, choosing when (or if) to visit the doctor in the first place?


If you follow the traditional path of healthcare then the answer is most probably a little of each of these.


Should you rely on your doctor alone? 


Doctor-Centric Vs. Patient-Centric 

In decades gone by, the doctor was the almighty when it came to your healthcare - medical records and diagnostics were wrapped in jargon and chemical symbols indistinguishable for anybody without a PHD in medical science. Doctors were the heroes in a world of mystery. Fast forward 20 years and now some patients arrive at the surgery more knowledgeable in their condition than their doctor thanks to huge volumes of medical information online. 

Healthcare in your home

The location where medical assessments and treatments take place has also shifted. For GP surgeries, online bookings and telephone consultations have given patients choice and power. In the private sector, you can find apps for video appointments, home-visits at times and places to suit you, even self-diagnostic and treatment kits delivered through your letterbox.


With more choice, access to private healthcare alternatives and the internet, the power has shifted to the patient. As we understand more about our health, we also learn how to proactively improve it instead of waiting for something to go wrong.


So whether you were aware or not, you are already a part of a changing medical landscape.


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Should you take a proactive approach to your health?

What is Genomics? 

Genomics sounds like one of those words you smile and nod at when the doctor mentions it, then frantically lookup on Google when you get home. To put it simply - it’s all about your genes, and importantly modern genomics can reveal a lot about the state of our current and potential future health. A simple test can reveal allergies and intolerances, the chances of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s, drugs which will likely be more effective in future treatment and reveal your ancestry. 


But genomics is only a tiny part of proactive and preventative healthcare. By reading this article you are being proactive! Your regular exercise routine and 5-a-day diet are fantastic preventers, keeping your body fighting fit to hold off would-be medical problems.

Health Tracking and Diagnostics 

Taking it further, we can be proactive ahead of a potentially serious condition affecting our health. Tracking health encourages us to maintain good habits, with reminders from our mobile phones keeping us on track. Long-term monitoring of our health gives a wealth of data for both ourselves and our doctors should it be needed. Research by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information has proven that those who proactively and routinely track their health (fitness and diet) will maintain healthier lifestyles and by default become more knowledgeable about potential conditions they maydevelop. 


Generic metrics like step counters, distance trackers and calories burnt can be tracked on most modern smartphones. However, there are so many more important metrics easily accessible which can act as pointers to serious potential health issues. For long-distance runners and cyclists for example, who put their hearts under immense stress during heavy cardio workouts, could benefit from a simple 20-minute at-home ECG test to ensure they have a healthy heart. 


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Is it safe to go it alone?


76% of people said they were concerned about NHS waiting lists, according to research conducted for Equipsme, with the NHS Confederation warning the Covid-19 crisis could see the NHS treatment waiting list double to 10 million by the end of the year. This should be enough of a catalyst for patients to look into the options available in self-treatment and the private sector. For those who don’t want to commit to high-cost health insurance, affordable pay-as-you-go treatment is available with at-home healthcare services like those provided by VisitHealth. 


It is important to say at this point that while self-treatment and diagnosis is suitable for minor issues, if you have concerns over something serious to your health then you should seek advice from a healthcare professional. However you can continue proactiveness by researching possible diagnosis and treatments, ready to question and challenge opinions given by the medic you consult.


Should I spend money on healthcare?


In the NHS waiting times are going up and the level of personal service is going down. Compare this to going for a meal - would you wait in line at the same restaurant or would you move on and find another? To research takes time, and to go private costs money - but we are talking about your health, your life. This is something in which you should be investing time and money, allowing you to continue to do what you love for years to come. 


If you are smart, then taking control of your healthcare doesn’t need to be expensive. Same-day appointments with immediate test results, self-testing and a proactive lifestyle save your time and stress in the long run, allowing you to get back to your life without the weight of your health hanging on your mind. 


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So, the verdict? - Should you take your health into your own hands? 


Whilst you don’t have to take total control of our own healthcare, smart individuals ought to be taking responsibility for it. Leaving our lives in the hands of an organisation under huge financial strain has its obvious causes for concern. By becoming educated we equip ourselves with knowledge to challenge those in power and force them to justify how they treat us. By proactively testing ourselves for common and overlooked health conditions we gain confidence that our body is in the best state it can be. By researching medical testing, conditions and treatments - and the different organisations which can provide it - we will become experts in the state of our own health and know the most effective and financially suitable ways to manage it.


So take control of your health, and look forward to being the healthiest version of yourself, in full knowledge of what is happening on the inside. 



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