Today marks World Health Day, where we raise awareness of a specific theme set by the World Health Organisation. This year’s theme is ‘Our Planet, Our Health’, and WHO is focusing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy. Advances in technology have changed the way we harness and use energy, with almost half of the UK now being powered by renewable energy. Technology is allowing us to live in a sustainable and safe way in our homes and in our cities; smart homes are being built and advocating green living and less waste (2). London is a leader in the world of smart cities, using data to combat the effects of climate change and pollution with a goal to ensure London’s transport system is zero-emission by 2050.
It’s worth pointing out that technology has changed the way we perceive health; where being ‘healthy’ literally used to mean staying alive, we now have a generation of people obsessed with tracking. Whether it’s daily steps, calorie intake vs calories burned, macros in foods – these days, there’s an app for everything. (There’s an app that will find people in your local area to cuddle with, and even one that lets you milk a virtual cow… we’ll let you be the judge of how beneficial that one is!)
That’s not to say that health tracking is always bad. Fertility tracking has enabled women to stray from hormonal methods of contraception, and fit-bit style watches get people moving with daily reminders – in some cases, fit bits have resulted in people walking up to a mile more per day.
Then there are apps like Healthera – we enable patients to take control of their healthcare, bringing pharmacies back to the heart of local communities. Half of UK adults are on prescription medication, and 50% of this group forget to order or take their meds at least once a month. At Healthera, we’re striving for a healthier population by ensuring less missed prescriptions. We’re making sure people get the treatment they need – whether it’s a sensitive issue or not – with discretion. By using technology in this way we’re ensuring a happy and healthy environment – for us now, and for generations to come. While World Health Day is about awareness, it’s also a celebration of how far we’ve come, and eager anticipation of where technology will take our health and planetary health in the next decade.