Does health tech fail because good health is kindergarten simple?

Social media is awash in news about digital health. I am a skeptic. Health is much simpler.

Social media is awash in news about digital health.

I am a skeptic. Health is much simpler. I like this rendering from a kindergarten class.

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When I was a trainee in electrophysiology, I spent oodles of time learning the underpinnings of the heart and its rhythm. I studied molecules, then cells, and then the physics (vectors) of how it all worked together. Catheter ablation of focal circuits or implantation of pacemakers for aging pacemaker cells are the appendectomies of EP. Curative. Clean. Easy.

Heart rhythm care has changed. It is much harder. The majority of my patients now suffer not from fluky imperfections, but from the sequelae of deviations from the kindergarten rules of health.

It’s weird; although I am a sub-subspecialist, a techie-doctor of sorts, most of my clinic days are spent teaching kindergarten health lessons.

For fun, let’s make brief comment on each of these beautiful rules:

1. Eat good food — Nothing to add here.

2. Exercise every day — that you eat.

3. Drink water — not sugary drinks.

4. Brush teeth — so you look good smiling.

5. Milk — No guideline or set of rules are perfect.

6. Don’t watch too much TV — or Internet.

7. Sleep well — It’s easier if you follow the previous rule.

8. Listen to the teacher — just listen more.

9. Remember stuff — See the previous three rules.

10. Dream — but don’t forget to work some as well.

11. Play with friends — Maybe modify this to: play nicely with friends.

12. Talk to people — I think they mean talk with people.

13. Ask people to play — I love a great group bike ride or run.

14. Calm down — It’s easier if you follow the above rules, especially numbers 1,2, and 7.

15. Express your feelings — Abscesses heal only when they are drained. Be careful though; pus comes out under pressure.

16. Make peace — and enjoy lower inflammation.

I’d put these rules up against any mobile sensor, blood test, DNA swab, medication, or surgical procedure.

If only there was a way to more easily hold on to the mastery of the obvious that we once had as children. Then there would surely be less AF (and PVCs) out there.


H/t to @rickplus3 and Brad Stulberg

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