007Self-diagnosis and self-treatment in Western Medic...

Blue sky Policy Alert 007

FP7 themes health agro ict nano energy environment transport ssh space security
ERA goals mobility infrastucture rtd institutions knowledge sharing  joint programming  cooperation 
Author(s)Anthony Walker, Joe Ravetz, Rafael Popper, Thordis Sveinsdottir
Contributor(s)Anna Kononiuk, Denis Loveridge, Andrej Magruk, Dorota Pawlak, Sally Randles, Ozcan Saritas, Phil Shapira, Alexander Sokolov
ManifestationGradual development
Potential impacts in Europe
people's lives
legislation & regulation
economy & business
defence & security
government & politics
environment & ecosystems
science & technology
Importance for EUMajor
Strategic attentionby 2030 Minor  by 2050 Major
Type of impactExtremely positive
Inspired byBrainstorming session and group discussions in the iKNOW Workshop in Manchester (February 2010)
Related to
Keywords, , , , , ,

Self-diagnosis and self-treatment in Western Medicine.

Research topic

Abundance of medical information on the Internet has given rise to the practices of self diagnosis and self treatment. Equipment whereby patients can monitor their blood pressure and heart rate is also readily available. The trend of an ageing population will also mean that public health systems will be met with increasing challenges. As waiting times get longer, patients may resort to diagnosing and treating themselves. Rapid developments in nanotechnology and ICT could indicate that sophisticated diagnosis and treatment systems could be developed in the near future.



Research should focus on examining how access to new diagnostic/treatment technologies would affect society (e.g. ageing population, pressure on public health services) Research could focus on examining the feasibility of building health databases, which could accurately provide diagnosis on the basis of medical tests (e.g. blood, urine etc) Research could also focus on implications for business (e.g. business planning and market forecasting) and health systems. Research should also focus on potential legislative and regulatory issues and how to best form a policy response.


Expected impact

The research will a) increase awareness of current self diagnosis/self treatment practices; b) devise strategies for appropriate policy responses across EU; c) inform common legislation and regulation across EU; d) inform business enterprise and technical innovation in this field.


Importance for Europe

Self diagnosis/self treatment in health needs to be regulated and legislation needs to aim for ensuring safe practice. It is vital that policy response which would aim to control and regulate this industry is informed by research into foreseeable impact (e.g. healthier population) these changes may have. It is furthermore important that EU forms a coherent legislative response that could guide member states in forming their legislation.


Disclaimer: The wild card presented in this brief may not happen at all or in the near future. iKNOW is a new EU funded research project aimed to explore surprising events (wild cards) and emerging issues (weak signals) potentially shaping or shaking the future of Europe and the world.
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