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Health Day 2022: Managing chronic ailments through preventive care approach

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Apr 07, 2022 04:25 PM IST

World Health Day 2022: Apart from loss of productivity and discomfort to patients, financial costs of chronic diseases are staggering. Many health experts are of the opinion that revamping the healthcare delivery approaches with modern technology, can be the sustainable solution to the problem.

India has a humongous burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments and respiratory illnesses and on the event of World Health Day 2022 this April 07, we got a few doctors on board to throw light on silent epidemics and how to manage these chronic ailments through preventive care approach. When combined, all of these chronic diseases not only account for millions of lives lost every year but also lead to India missing out on much deserved demographic dividend that a healthy population of 1.35 billion plus can offer. 

Silent epidemics: Managing chronic ailments through preventive care approach (Pixabay)
Silent epidemics: Managing chronic ailments through preventive care approach (Pixabay)

Apart from the loss of productivity and discomfort to patients, the financial costs of chronic diseases are staggering and the fact that most of the expenditure on healthcare is out-of-pocket due to low health insurance penetration, makes it even worse for the common man while the situation is similar to constantly diverge funds towards paying EMIs of a health loan throughout the patient’s lifetime. Hence, many health experts are of the opinion that revamping the healthcare delivery approaches with the aid of modern technology, can be the sustainable solution to the problem.

Elaborating on the need to make the transition from responsive to preventive healthcare for chronic disease management, Runam Mehta, Chief Executive Officer at HealthCube, shared, “India is already battling a major shortage of qualified doctors, nurses, hospital staff, diagnostic facilities and ICU beds etc. and majority of the limited resources available are concentrated in major cities. This leaves hundreds of millions of people dependent on commuting to big cities for every major or minor health need including routine health check-ups, follow-up after an illness and medicines etc."

She added, "The costs, inconvenience and loss of earnings caused by such compulsions makes the general public ignore health concerns until they manifest in the form of chronic ailments. This is where the role of digital health-tech companies is extremely important as it will enable the local public and authorities to seamlessly and easily identify early-stage symptoms of chronic disease and even identification of disease risk factors is possible. It will eventually lead to controlling and curbing the spread of chronic diseases in the country.”

While medical device manufacturers and innovative med-tech startups are helping shape the future of healthcare delivery, it is also important for the caregivers to adopt a change of approach. The impact of out-of-hospital and on-demand healthcare services has been clearly visible in the new normal. Talking about the same, Dr Vishal Sehgal, President Medical Services at Portea Medical, said, “Hospital resources are limited and inaccessible for most people. However, this lack of easy access to physical healthcare infrastructure should no longer deprive people of good health. This is where technology driven tele-consultation, remote healthcare monitoring and management of lifestyle can help build a preventive care ecosystem."

According to him, "Usage of portable medical devices and online tools now enables doctors to keep a track of patients’ vitals remotely. For instance, palpitations and irregular heart beat can be signs of underlying conditions that could lead to heart problems, or wounds taking unusually longer to heal could be a sign of diabetes. Through usage of digital technology, patients are made aware of such risk factors and provided with doorstep diagnostic support as well as online doctor consultations through video calls etc.”

The global healthcare landscape is changing rapidly and chronic diseases are the biggest challenge for all of us today. Seemingly innocuous, under-the-surface ailments exact heaviest costs when it comes to loss of quality of life and healthcare expenditure but by adopting a technology and innovation rich approach of preventive healthcare, health experts believe we can overcome these challenges and ensure community prosperity and wellness which is the need of the hour in the post-pandemic normal.

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