Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the average American is finding his or her relationship to health and wellness a bit… well… on the rocks. In a time of decreased fitness, increased processed foods, and a general lack of self awareness, most of us can’t figure out how to repair this broken relationship, though we really want to. A classic case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” Who’d have thought that the semester of health classes in high school wouldn’t give us the answers we’d need 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years later?
Enter Kaiser Permanente’s interactive Center for Total Health
--the therapist you’ve been looking for, that is, if you’re in the Washington D.C. area. The new center was created to begin the discussion on national health as well as act as a meet-and-greet between patients and new medical innovations.
That tablet your doctor is carrying instead of her standard clipboard? It’s probably the new Blackberry Playbook which is being used to look up your medical chart or scan the barcode of the prescription you’ll be picking up in an hour. Having trouble remembering when to take how much of that particular medicine? The Philips Medication Dispensing Service will dispense, in your home, the correct medication at the right dosage at the right time. Or even if you’re in perfect health, you may be intrigued by GE Health’s Vscan ultrasound, which looks like a sleek device from the iPod family, but is capable of allowing sonographers to take their services to rural areas where such technologies aren’t yet available. In the realistic future, we may not be androids, but we sure are using them to our advantage.
The highlights of the center are the large touch-screen exhibits, including an 80 foot interactive wall mural. Designed by commercial art group Brand New School, located in “Los Yorkdon” (Los Angeles, New York, and London,) the interactive displays allow visitors to listen to stories, learn more about the health care system and ways of living healthier, and take part in Kaiser’s Every Body Walk! campaign, aimed at getting the nation to become more active. With projects ranging from MTV to Aflac, the 11 year old global design firm has created displays which are easy to use and so visually appealing that you won’t be able to keep your hands off the screens. Worlds away from that high school health class, the Center for Total Health delivers an intriguing atmosphere you won’t be able to sleep through.
The center is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, although is closed for private events and conferences. You can call 202-346-3370 to see whether it is open to the public or not. 700 Second Street, NE Washington, DC.