A letter from our CEO, Peter Calfee.

When it comes to modern medicine, it’s time for patients to flip the script.

The current state of medication management has been largely informed by the expertise of physicians and scientists, rather than the real-life experience of the actual patients utilizing the medication.

But that’s steadily changing.

Dogmatic, doctor-driven strategies focused on treating conditions and symptoms are slowly being replaced by patient-centered approaches that place newfound emphasis on the patient’s active role in monitoring their own treatment plans, dosing regimens and medication management.

And nowhere is that more true than for the many patients utilizing plant-based medicines. It’s estimated at least 80 percent of the world’s population depends on herbal medicines, according to a 2014 report published in Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Technologies that facilitate easy and effective monitoring by patients of their treatment, dosing, responses and side effects are enabling patients to take charge of their health like never before. The days of old-school analog medication journals are disappearing, being replaced by mobile apps and cloud-based services that make it much easier for patients to track everything about their medication use and experiences.

These game-changing systems are enabling a truly personalized approach to plant-based medicine that’s transforming the treatment landscape for patients.

Taking “Trial and Error” Out of the Process

The number of plant species screened for medical use is estimated at a whopping 35,000-70,000, according to a 2012 report in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research. And with many product variations available to patients and consumers, determining which potential remedy works best, and at what dose, is often a cumbersome process of trial and error. And let’s face it, many people just don’t have the free time to spend figuring out which products and doses are best suited to their needs.

That’s precisely why technologies that enable streamlined, personalized approaches to plant-based medicine are becoming increasingly popular options for medication management.

We live in a time where crowdsourced data and community science is used for everything from restaurant recommendations to documenting environmental health risks, and the same will soon be true for plant-based medication management as well.

Convenient mobile apps and easy-to-use digital medication journals are changing the way people approach all types of medication management—and use of plant-based medicines is no exception. People need an easy and efficient way to ensure they’re getting optimal results from their medications. And data-powered platforms are making that possible.

Get ready for digital ecosystems that allow a patient to intuitively monitor dose delivery, track usage outcomes and contribute anonymously to a community science database to make product recommendations based on effectiveness for various conditions. By significantly reducing the clumsy trial-and-error treatment discovery process, these platforms have positioned themselves as the clear choice for plant-based medication management going forward.

A Patient-Centered Approach

The expertise of trained medical professionals is undoubtedly necessary when crafting patient treatment plans for traditional pharmaceutical medications. And while patient feedback and input is useful in fine-tuning these traditional treatment plans, most prescribers don’t empower patients with specific tools for monitoring their medication experience. Thus, patient feedback can often lack the important and specific details needed for actionable use.

When it comes to trying plant-based medication, patient feedback is absolutely critical. Given the inherent variability of plant medicine and the plethora of available product options, patients must carefully track their medication use and dosing regimens for optimal therapeutic effect.

There is a lot of information to keep track of when it comes to plant-based medication, and patients can greatly benefit from not simply documenting all that information as it applies to themselves, but also from researching data provided anonymously by other patients with similar symptoms.

We built the Gofire system to put patients in the driver’s seat of their own personalized treatment plans for plant-based medicine. Personal profiles in the Gofire app allow patients to reference their past sessions to gain a better understanding of which blends, doses and regimens work best for them, and why. Our platform leverages community data to guide individual product recommendations and dosing regimens, as well as easily locating specific products and retailers in the patient’s area.

Technology is empowering patients to better manage their medications, whether they’re plant-based or pharmaceutical. And the modern American consumer increasingly gravitates toward convenient, intuitive methods for recording and distilling clear information about their health and wellness.

Because everyone deserves to make informed decisions.

Peter Calfee is CEO of Gofire™, a digital healthcare company committed to making alternative health accessible through standardizing dose regimens by delivery and the patient’s targeted condition. Mr. Calfee is a health-technology entrepreneur and investor with more than nine years of experience in the life sciences and alternative health industry.

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