Health & Wellness

Convenience ≠ Healthy

How much ease do we really need to get and stay healthy? Convenience should not always mean the quickest or cheapest option.

Recently I stumbled on Amazon and saw a header with a title "Letter from our CEO". 

In the reading mood, I clicked it and it really got me thinking about the state of our "health" care in our country. 

The letter was an introduction welcoming their new "One Medical" platform that Amazon will be launching that is designed to "make it dramatically easier for customers to get what they need to stay healthy". 

Visits via telehealth or direct messaging, ability to make same day appointments and get your prescriptions ordered fast and filled anywhere are the primary benefits of this service. There appears to be options for in-person visits with local partnered facilities but I imagine their primary aim is to stick with the convenience factor of having someone to talk to at your fingertips. 

We all know the powerhouse that Amazon is and how they stand almost completely alone in the way that we buy and obtain goods. Convenience is their driver.

So it’s no wonder that the solution appears to make medical transactions even more convenient and accessible.

Having personally served in multiple healthcare settings, I can adamantly state that our country's "health" care which now operates entirely like sick-care is in need of a desperate overhaul. 

Unfortunately it has been long overdue considering the amount of time and effort it takes to make an appointment, wait to see a practitioner, and only get a few minutes to speak directly with an expert. Worse is the unsettled feeling that your concerns were not answered and you got passed around for other referred visits, additional tests, or handed a prescription to manage your symptoms. 

The well-oiled insurance based system is suited to deal and manage a crisis when your life is in emergent danger. But unfortunately, that same system is used for those who are looking to manage their health and actually engage in a state of well-being. 

So who’s to blame? Physicians? Their Employer? Their Association? The insurance companies?

Ultimately the model in of itself is to blame since there are wonderful practitioners who still operate within this arena but what they are up against is concerning. 

Think about the last time something felt wrong with your health. Did you reach out to your physician’s office or did you consult Dr. Google first?

What I see as the real problem, is that people are going to consciously (maybe some will subconsciously) choose convenience to not leave their home, not speak personally with their doctor or never meet face-to-face with anyone all in an effort to make themselves “healthier”.

I fear this choice is a slippery slope. Because with this convenient choice, comes a way to make the same transactional process that is happening now in “health” care just happen quicker. 

We should have innovative ways to improve our health and wellness but when it comes to the decisions that impact our well-being, how much ease should we continue to expect?

What’s comical is the excitement in their letter that explains One Medical will “make it easier to get and stay healthy”. This sounds great, but let’s be honest. It takes discipline and work to be truly healthy

Look at any of the world’s blue zones where there is a significantly higher percentage of centenarians living and you will see nothing in the light of ease. Daily movement, tending to chores, making homemade meals and walking a considerable amount as a form of travel seems to be the basic necessity. 

And if we really saw it as such, we would appreciate it as the golden opportunity we get during our journey on this Earth. Think about that for a moment...

We get the choice day in and day out to take necessary care of the one body we have.

We move it, we learn and experience things to work our brain and body while sharing our experiences through conversation with loved ones over a meal. 

To think that diluting this life down to making it easier is going to make us healthier is a distraction. In fact looking back on time as life has gotten “easier” with the advances in communication & technology in the past 70 years, we have actually become sicker with adults having a higher number of average comorbidities and increased risk of death by diseases that are all within control of our lifestyle. 

It’s odd yet still amazing how we happen to be in both a crazy and wonderful time in the world. I only hope that your decisions towards your health keep you rooted in a journey that allows you to be your most capable self during old age. 

True convenience of health should merely be the consequence of taking intentional actions daily to live a life rich in movement, play and shared experiences. If you seek health through a relationship driven by convenience, be prepared to deal with the risks of choosing the easy route.