By: Dhiren Patel
Today is World Health Day and there are still millions of people without healthcare not only in the U.S. but around the world. For example, communities in India don’t have the ability or bandwidth to take on certain large problems like strokes, heart attacks and are often only able to treat a smaller illness like the flu, diarrhea, and colds. You would have to find a way to get to a larger city to the main hospital in order to treat those more complex cases and often times people would pass away in route. These cases are obviously a bit extreme but technology can allow these rural hospitals to focus on the more complex cases and allow telemedicine to handle things like the cold, irregular heartbeat, rashes all the while you’ll be saving on healthcare costs.
Our phones have opened a new avenue.
Our phones are an extension of who we are, what we are, and show what we do. They are also cameras and webcams. Our phones connect us to the world and allow us to contact our loved ones, co-workers, and friends. Something that people probably thought was never possible when computers used to take up entire rooms and barely do the things our phones can now do. This can open up the possibilities of healthcare access in rural communities that otherwise would not have the ability to or would have to make an event to reach a healthcare provider for their condition. That access to healthcare can change these people’s lives and we now have the ability to monitor and record our vitals with Smart tracking devices.
Smart tracking devices inform healthcare
Health technology like the FitBit, Apple Watch, scales, blood pressure monitors, and sleep trackers that connect and record data to your phone empowers people to take control of their own health. It can provide data on how you are functioning day to day to medical providers. This data can help assess your risk level for chronic diseases and what you can do every day to improve your health and make better daily habits. This a resource to tap into in analyzing how activity and sleep are affecting the patient’s blood pressure, blood glucose levels and weight. While there are many improvements to be made, it can be part of a holistic health care plan.
What people are doing so far
Startups are already taking advantage of this trend. Doctor On Demand and One Medical Group provides telemedicine services to connect you with a doctor by live video. Grand Rounds uses telemedicine to help connect you to a medical expert that has proven to have better outcomes for your particular case. Omada Health has pioneered Digital Therapeutics to help prevent chronic diseases in at-risk individuals. In Q1 of 2017 alone, there have over $1 billion invested in Digital Heath!
The internet has revolutionized how we interact with the world and the positive aspects and ability to communicate from anywhere in the world can provide million with access to healthcare that would otherwise have none, that’s a mission worth pursuing.