By BitMED Provider: Joseph Accursio, NP

As technology advances at breakneck speed, so the world of healthcare evolves along with it. The traditional hospital-based systems that dealt with illness and death have been replaced with a new concept of medicine. The current trends are customer-centricity, convenience store access, the ability to shop for healthcare like it’s a grocery store, and being able to visit with a provider visit through a laptop or a smartphone. Style and delivery now play a major role in medicine.

From a professional perspective, healthcare is concerned with treating customers based upon the most up-to-date scientific guidelines. Gone are the old-wives’ tales and the guesswork. Also electronic medical record permit providers to have a more complete picture of the patient, so that medical care can be comprehensive and patient-centered, giving people the best improved outcomes for their dollar.

Even the definition of health has changed many times over many years, bringing us to the current understand of “health” as not just the absence of illness; instead we speak of “wellness” as the optimal functioning of a person’s life across all spheres. The shift from health to wellness is significant, because it moves the needle closer to reality. But despite the good intentions and aim of all these changes, the best system in the world is still going to fall short without one single and necessary key ingredient – patient responsibility. No amount of technology, science or networking comes close to what can be achieved with a little preventative care.

Where’s the catch? Prevention takes time and energy. It’s about discipline and responsibility for the choices you make. And it can be tough to get started. Granted, it’s a big chore to wade through the sheer volume of misinformation and nonsense that is available to us through the internet. But the fact is, there will never be any match for internal motivation – no one will take care of you or your family better than you will.

That’s where BitMED comes in. With the free consultations, video visits and site content, reliable health information can be tailored to your specific needs and questions. And this puts the profession of healthcare into its proper place – not as a schoolteacher, but as a partner. Instead of dealing with illness and injury after it’s taken a toll on your quality of life, having a healthcare provider who partners with you in crafting smart lifestyle choices not only extends your years, but makes them more fulfilling.

So where do you start in this transformation toward wellness? The first step is honesty. You must take a good hard look at your life – what you value, where you want to be, how far away you are from there, and all the while constantly looking to clear up any health misconceptions that you may have. You have to know what you don’t know, and know where to look for reliable answers. After you gain a perspective on your own health and wellness, you need to have a plan to integrate the changes that need to be made into your life on a permanent basis. This is where it becomes difficult, because sacrifices will be made. These sacrifices and changes will affect not only you, but your close friends, family and daily routine. Change usually comes quickly at first, but after the novelty wears off and the reality sets in, your old ways will rise up against you, and you’ll be in for a fight. Nevertheless, just like eating an elephant, its one bite at a time toward better choices and better quality of life. There will be setbacks, but there can also be great success.

It comes back around to those two ugly words - discipline and responsibility. Because no matter what else may be involved, your health is ultimately in your hands. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.