Right now, only 25 percent of American youth ages 18-24 are eligible to serve in the military, due in large part to medical issues. And of those who are actively serving, a quarter are not deployable at any given time for the same reason.
It’s clear that health concerns substantially limit the population we can draw on to defend the nation. While advances in healthcare are enabling better and better treatment for illnesses and injury, I believe an even more critical piece of the puzzle is wellness.
New technologies and approaches make it possible to focus on wellness—not just acute care—in healthcare delivery. Smart devices and wearables are collecting patient-generated data every day. The longitudinal health record is poised to become a widespread reality. Advanced analytics are turning information into insight that enables precision care and predictive modeling.
So what does this mean for readiness? The answer lies in realizing the full potential of these technologies to support and enhance health and wellness.
Consider this: 75 percent of healthcare money in the United States goes toward chronic care and progression of disease. Take, for example, the cycle of obesity that progresses into other serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiac complications. If we can introduce better tracking earlier in life, we can leverage better analytics to deliver individualized, insight-driven care that can interrupt that cycle, strengthening our nation’s readiness and the general health of the American people.
We need to recognize the areas where accelerating our impact and leveraging emerging technologies can improve the readiness of today’s force. But even more importantly, building sustainability into our approach now ensures readiness for the generations to come.
Accenture Federal Services is proud to be a sponsor of the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium in Orlando, Florida from July 25 to 27. You are invited to visit our booth to find out more about how we are helping our military leverage technology and increase wellness and improve readiness.