Elliot Kotek,  co-founder and content chief of Not Impossible and founding editor-in-chief of Not Impossible Now, will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Impact Nation Conference, presented by Relias.

 

When it comes to healthcare, our minds are often mixed-up and melted by the media’s megaphone, which dominates discussion on the subject. 

The debilitating dilemma with this is that the issues surrounding healthcare that make their way to debate, don’t often consider the stakes – while we worry about words, people’s very real lives aren’t receiving the quality of care they deserve, and aren’t receiving the triumphant technologies hailed by Silicon Valley on a weekly basis.

Let’s state a fact - Quality of life is paramount for all who breathe and bleed – Regardless of whether you fall within the 1% or the 99, regardless of skin tone or sexual orientation, immigration status, race or religion, the only issue that, at one point or another, affects us ALL, is our health. Our wellness dictates the words we speak, the movements we conduct and the tears we shed. Sometimes our wellness isolates us, and other times it drops us squarely into communities we’d never before seen as equals.

Consider the first question we ask each other without second thought, every day:

“How are you?”

“How are ya?”

“How ya doin’?”

“How’s it going?”

Now, consider how often you answer with the truth.  Do we think that no-one wants to hear it, or do we just not want to share it?

Now, consider the times in which we live. We live in a world driven by innovation and connectedness, but of fewer and fewer conversations that have meaning and depth.

The exciting thing is that we’ve never before had so many tools available to communicate, and so many accessible machines with the potential to solve day-to-day quality of life issues.

When the company I co-founded sent 3D printers to Sudan to print basic prosthetic limbs for kids of a war-torn nation, the plastic product became secondary to the feelings we generated about its potential. What happened was an unboxing of technology as a symbol of DIY healthcare – in rural, developing parts of the world, sure, but also in our own backyards where costs of care and speeds-of-service have become bigger and bigger barriers to mobility, and to maintaining health generally.

Silicon Valley’s engineering titans; the nation’s best design schools; the maker movement’s warriors and poets; those individuals with a “millennial” and “aspirational” mentality; patent-pursuers inspired by “Shark Tank;” local and national fresh produce foodies; and various other doers and dynamos are leading the charge on reducing the hassles of healthcare and, conversely, are increasing independent engagement with wellness.

Once you, too, start recognizing all the tools, tastes and technologies traveling to your app stores or Amazon shopping carts, you can’t help but notice that those with access to technology can bypass many traditional processes and permissions systems. The key, though, is access – and ensuring that those individual people with a less than ideal geographic location, financial situation or physical limitation, have the same opportunities, too.

When the systems fail the sick, but you start to bear witness to the social sharing of innovation and emotion that is generated by those at the front lines of patient care every day, the barriers to better mobility and a more meaningful life begin to dissolve.

It’s time to get personal.