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Lori Paul, right, sits with her son Max Paul, 9, at their Orlando, Fla., home, Jan. 13. The Paul Family uses a computer and smartphone to log into their son Max’s health records. Max has cystic fibrosis.Technology brings them faster answers, and lessens anxiety in waiting for test results.

Technology to play bigger role in health care in '14

It's looking to be the year of the consumer in health care, say leaders and visionaries in the industry.
 
New technology, changes in the market and the Affordable Care Act will allow more consumers to bid good-bye to some of the most frustrating parts of a troubled health care system. Waiting hours to see the doctor, taking hand-written prescriptions to the pharmacy while sick, chasing down medical records, and being left in the dark about what care will cost are all inconveniences that will soon go the way of the phone booth.
 
"The big trend is toward consumerism, with the individual customer being the new focal point," said Pat Geraghty, chairman and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. "Previously, the system was built around the care provider. The new system will revolve around the consumer."
 
Karen van Caulil, president of the Florida Health Care Coalition, agrees: "All the turmoil we've gone through is good news for consumers," she said, referring to a year when America's health care system underwent a historic overhaul.
 
Here are some improvements that will make health care better for consumers:
 
MOBILE APPS: "Mobile health is an emerging, exploding category that lets consumers track their activity, fuel consumption and other measurements that help improve wellness and manage chronic diseases," said Thad Seymour, general manager of health and life sciences for Orlando's Lake Nona community, home of the Medical City and a growing health-centric community.
 
Wellness technology is also becoming embedded in homes, such as the Intelligent House in Lake Nona, where mirrors reflect residents' health statistics and kitchen computers help them plan smart meals.

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