Technology could be key in allowing CNY residents an equal chance at healthy lives

May 21, 2012

There is a difference of up to 33 years of life expectancy depending on where you live in Central New York and there is no simple answer to creating equal health for all.

Economics, race and gender all figure into these health disparities but technology could play a major part in closing the healthcare gap found between many Americans.

Johns Hopkins healthcare disparities expert Michael Gibbons says Central New York is no different than the rest of the country when it comes to health disparities.

He points to statistics that show people living longer in Tompkins County compared to Oneida and Oswego Counties.  And while the answer to creating health equity is multifaceted, technology can be key.

Gibbons says whether people are young or old, poor or rich, educated or uneducated, the invasiveness of technology is a constant.

“People are already there. This is not begging people to use their phones, or use their Wiis or their PlayStations. It's just having them use them for a better purpose or more healthy purpose," Gibbons said.

It's more than just doctors and hospitals creating portals for patients on their phones or online, Gibbons said. It also involves technology that'll help people live healthier lives; whether it's checking blood sugar levels or eating a healthy diet.

For example, he sees a time where food in your home is tracked and someone who needs to stay on a 1,800 calorie-a-day diet can open up an application on their phone that will offer them an easy way to make a meal using the food they have on hand.

Gibbons was a speaker at Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York session on health inequity last week.