“Prevention is Better than Cure” – how many times have we heard this age old wisdom? Yet, we often find ourselves on the side of cure rather than care. And the proof is evident when we look at the rise of chronic diseases in India over the last decade alone. Factors such as urbanization, rise in sedentary lifestyles and peaking stress levels, have given way to diseases that were easily avoidable earlier.
Naturally, with the rising incidence of lifestyle diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, prevention has started taking center stage in the global healthcare agenda, and India isn’t too far behind. According to a report by Grand View Research, Inc, the global preventive healthcare technologies and services market is expected to reach USD 432.4 billion by 2024.
Illness patterns around the world are changing and can especially be seen among the working class generation in the age group of 30-45 years. Most of these health risks can considerably be reduced through preventive care which can begin even at home.
But how can technology solutions assist in accelerating pace of the health tech services that will enable preventative care more effectively and make it more accessible to the larger audience? Let’s find out.
Technology as an Enabler
Technology has penetrated almost every aspect of our lives through smart devices such as smartphones, tablets and other high-tech gear. As per a report by Markets and Markets, the Global mHealth Solutions Market (Connected Devices -Blood Pressure Monitor, Glucose Meter) is poised to reach USD 59.15 Billion by 2020.
We can already see a spike in the utilization of connected medical devices and mHealth apps in the management of chronic diseases, which is helping to increase focus on patient-centric healthcare delivery.
The adoption of technology in the health industry has helped in transforming our perspectives on healthcare. The development of preventive measures such as vaccines, screening & monitoring devices, and smart devices to reduce medical errors has been fuelled by factors such as reducing birth rate and an increasing geriatric population that is more prone to chronic diseases.
Identification and minimization of disease risk factors, existing disease development&improvement and early detection of disease through screening are a few important elements of preventive healthcare. It is crucial element as it allows people to be aware about their health issues in the early days so as to help keep track of their progress on a real time basis.
Here are some technology trends that are reshaping preventive healthcare in India:
- Medical devices:Adopting preventive care techniques like home monitoring allows patients to keep a close eye on their health and ensure that symptoms do not go out of control. By careful monitoring, healthcare providers and doctors can also take necessary measures to reduce the chances of a health catastrophe.
- Easy to access medical records: As patients become more empowered with their process of treatment, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) make patient data more accessible. This permits learning systems and constant feedback loops between the patient, the healthcare provider and the expert medical community. The entire health ecosystem is being transformed by digital connectivity.
- Access to quality health delivery: Technology is addressing the urgent need of simplifying the complex ecosystem of doctors, specialists, diagnostics, second opinions, etc. that has grown all around us today. It is also helping build transparency in the system with respect to quality and costs for each of these services. Additionally, there is growing need for data exchange across the entire ecosystem for each patient, allowing for efficient treatments and better outcomes at a reduced cost, and technology plays a central role in order to enable this exchange.
The Way Forward
Any technology that builds cognitive learning can help the healthcare ecosystem evolve. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the size of the healthcare industry is going to reach $160 billion by 2017. Healthtech start-ups can help address 4 key gaps that currently exist in the industry – access, effectiveness, affordability and preventive care – and aim to change the behaviour of people in the segment.
Technology will be that one key factor in making healthcare available on every individual’s fingertips, from the rural field worker lacking the access to a clinic to the urban professional lacking the time to visit a doctor. The convenience of the electronic devices powered with technology solutions that help operational efficiently within the healthcare industry can give the power of choice to the consumer when it comes to his healthcare decisions like never before. Hence preventive healthcare is the need of the hour and there is tremendous scope of the same in India and at the global level.
(Disclaimer: This is a guest post submitted on Techstory by the mentioned authors. All the contents and images in the article have been provided to Techstory by the authors of the article. Techstory is not responsible or liable for any content in this article.)
About The Author:
Ninad Raje is a Healthcare, Insurance, Information Technology and Financial Services senior professional with in depth knowledge and experience in successfully leading large organizations. He is a specialist in successfully growing organizations at a minimum rate of 5x using extreme innovation.
At HealthAssure, he drives the 3Ps – People, Performance & Profitability along with Information Technology, Operations & Client Relations and is deeply entrenched in ‘Growing the Organization’ multifold.