Revolutionary advances in wellness are oftentimes the result of evolutionary steps in medicine or technology. Which is to say a pill organizer is as important as any pill, if a person wants to take his medicine; just as an electronic prescription is better than a prescription pad, if a doctor or pharmacist wants to access and track the medicines a patient takes; just as a mobile device is better than leaving a person to his own devices, if that man wants to secure or find his medicine.
The point is: Corporate wellness does not require radical change to change people’s hearts and minds. To encourage them to take better care of their cardiovascular and mental health, too. To educate them about these things. To equip them with the tools to achieve these things.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 60% of people forget to take their medication at least once a month. That fact is less an expression of spite—it is not a sign of stubbornness—than it is proof of a problem, in spite of how much money ($425 billion) Americans spend on prescription drugs.
That fact should be a call to action, a chance for companies to do more than promote the idea of wellness. A chance for companies to create places in which it is not only safe to work but also healthier for people to come to work. A chance to enable workers to maintain their health by making it easier for them to store and take their respective medication.
Consider, also, the cost of inaction.
Consider this report from the American Heart Association (AHA) about the mortal consequences of not tracking and taking medication.
Poor medication adherence, the AHA says, takes the lives of 125,000 Americans annually, and costs our healthcare system nearly $300 billion a year in additional doctor visits, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.
As a scientist, I have more than a professional interest in this subject. I have a need, especially when traveling, to secure and track my medication. Having the means to do that, be it with an actual piece of hardware that syncs with my smartphone or tablet such as Mimic Go or anything that lessens my dependence on pen and paper—having a digital solution to an analog problem is critical to making wellness a reality.
That Apple also recognizes the value of health and technology punctuates the above points, serving as an exclamation point (!) about how we can devise answers by using our mobile devices.
Wellness is doable precisely because it involves pragmatic solutions, not dogmatic theories that are too expensive to pursue or too outlandish to gain purchase from companies and workers.
These solutions are disruptive but not interruptive, meaning they help people to live better without interfering with people’s lives; they allow people to go about their lives—to do all manner of workaday things—without complicating how they work; they make healthcare more effective, too, since it costs less for workers to take their medication than it does to hospitalize and treat them with higher doses of the same medication.
What we need to do, then, is evolve: to take a small step that is itself a giant leap for the betterment of America’s workers, at home and abroad.
That step begins with an evolutionary mindset, where employers and employees review the choices they can afford. The choices they can neither afford to dismiss nor deny. The choices they must afford themselves the time to test and adopt. The choices that afford them an opportunity like no other.
What I propose is revolutionary, not because it is too abstract, but because it is so demonstrably acceptable—and accessible; a tap, touch, or swipe on a smartphone or tablet, so I can see—so we may all see—where those things that matter most to preserving our individual or collective health are safe and stationary.
My proposal is more of a prescription about how companies can inspire us to take our prescribed medication. My Rx is digital and mobile.
That I write these words on a mobile device is all the more reason for companies and workers to do as I do. To say by doing, that we can best state our intentions and accomplish our goals with evolutionary steps.
Let us evolve.
Let us have the resolution necessary to evolve.
Let us never forget that we can do great things, provided we evolve by adapting to an environment that rewards choice; that rewards those who make the right choices.