The future of healthcare: going to the dogs?

Walking dog

In many countries, healthcare costs are very high. For example, in the U.S., 16% of GDP is health expenditures. It is important to find solutions to reduce the high cost while maintaining high-quality care.

In a paper newly published in Frontiers in Neurology, authors proposed a new model that use “non-human employees” in healthcare. One type of such non-human employees is dogs, which have been regarded as “man’s best friend”. Dog employees are relatively low-cost compared to human employees.

Many studies have confirmed that dogs can serve patients in hospitals. They can detect harmful hospital pathogens, and improve the physical and psychological health of patients with disabilities. They can also detect certain human health problems, such as cancer and epileptic seizures, and provide psychological comfort to patients.

Although for work roles like prescribing and administering medications, dogs still cannot replace human care givers, they can provide companionship and lots of emotional support for both human employees and patients. Thus, it is practical to use dogs in future healthcare work.

Citation: Freeman WD, Vatz KA. (2015). The future of health care: going to the dogs? Frontiers in Neurology, 6: 87. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2015.00087
Figure legend: This image is derived from the cited article under CC-BY license.