Preventative Healthcare refers to measures taken in order to anticipate diseases instead of treating them post diagnosis. It is relevant to all age groups, especially now. Technology is shaping an era of preventive awareness in the Indian healthcare landscape with a range of customised, real-time health solutions, effectively catering to our growing needs. With many tech-led innovations, there is an increased awareness around preventive healthcare and consequently, people are taking deliberate steps to improve their health and well-being.
In this article, Runam Mehta, CEO – HealthCube shares how technology has helped increase preventive healthcare in the country.
Telemedicine, digital therapeutics, portable medical devices, digitisation of health records and availability of medicines at the click of a button are some of the efforts being made to better understand an individual’s health status leading to defined user engagement for improved health outcomes.
Increased use of portable smart devices
Portable medical devices help keep a check on basic medical conditions like blood pressure and sugar levels and when integrated with smart wearables, users can track their health in real-time. These devices are incorporated into a digital therapeutics platform enabling users to understand how their lifestyle and food choices influence their health and initiate corrective actions in terms of their eating habits or sedentary lifestyle.
Wearable healthcare monitoring
Wearable technologies allow users to track their movements throughout the day easily. Beyond fitness, these technologies are advancing to monitor vital statistics such as a user’s heart rate, lung function, blood oxygen level, and blood sugar. Development to track and alert the onset of degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease is also in process. A user could have a level of medication in their blood that is regularly monitored according to a regime provided by the physician. He will also be reminded to administer his next dose when its level drops below a certain threshold.
Another area where technology is playing a role in preventive health awareness is the use of smart diagnostics which can help in carrying out different kinds of tests like monitoring the vitals, cardiac and inflammation markers, biochemistry and haematology, urine tests and infectious disease screening thus aiding in prevention at the point-of-care.
This portable medical testing equipment can also be mounted on vans and taken to rural areas thus aiding in screening large populations. The high-risk cases can be referred to the doctor in either primary health care settings or can organise telemedicine consultations with doctors in remote hospitals. As a nation, we aspire to high quality primary health care in rural India. Digital health technology was also leveraged in a big way in augmenting the public health response to COVID-19 and in creating preventive awareness.
The use of AI and machine learning-based tools can further revolutionise preventive healthcare. Medical-grade wearables with AI can create predictions based on a patient’s daily biometrics. When patients can follow their own progress and see how certain choices directly impact their health, they are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, engage in their healthcare and change their behaviour.
As technology illuminates new dimensions of patient health, they create a new approach to pre-symptomatic prevention, early diagnosis, personalised treatment, and home monitoring. Invisible factors and hidden causes become more and more apparent in the routine practice of care. Preventive awareness and technological advancements thus go hand in hand and have a great role to play in taking us towards the goal of health for all.
(With inputs from Runam Mehta, CEO – HealthCube)
Image credits- freepik