May 20, 2013

How does modern healthcare touch lives?


 Healthcare today is in a state of transition. In the past, healthcare has been a luxury possessed only by the rich and elite of India. Poor people were forced to visit government hospitals where massive workload, lack of proper infrastructure and shortage of health professionals caused enormous frustration. Rural India was massively under served. Lack of basic healthcare in a nearby area caused severe strain on the patients families who had to run from pillar to post to relieve the grievances of their loved ones. Delay in diagnoses invariably lead to adverse outcomes manifested by high morbidity and mortality rates. Many of these evils still persist today on a lesser scale and these are precisely the challenges faced by the modern healthcare. Let us look at the revolution in waiting known as modern healthcare. 



What is modern healthcare ? 
Modern healthcare is difficult to define in a few words. It encompasses all the changes (from smallest to the massive ones) taking place at all the levels of healthcare from grassroots to the international level. Subtle changes in ways we lead our life and work on our health like proper hygiene, institutional deliveries, immunization of children etc are also the part of modern healthcare. So how does modern healthcare work? 

Here are some examples : 
 1) Public private partnership helps in funding, execution, appropriate technology usage and proper evaluation. Involvement of NGOs has made it possible to directly reach the masses where government alone has failed. 

2) Ambulance services including air ambulance : -This facility is life saving for patients with serious conditions heart attack, stroke, shock and other medical emergencies. 

3) Electronic Media : - Electronic media in form of TV, radio etc now covers the entire country. It is the best tool for spreading health awareness. and promoting health education. 

4) Internet :IT is the single largest factor that will change the lives of millions if not billions across the world. In next decade India will see massive shift in usage of internet in healthcare. Some examples include - 

Twitter  It is the fastest way in which a real-time event can be covered. In emergencies this can be life saving. Importantly it allows anyone to connect with anybody irrespective of their location, language, ethnicity, nationality. Nowadays twitter is helping people create awareness of various health conditions, seek blood donations, arranging for organ donors and many such useful activities. 

Whatsapp : A free messaging tool that allows sending free messages including pictures and videos to their contacts through their mobiles. This helps in reducing the time in diagnosis and treatment. A patient suffering from heart attack can directly contact his cardiologist, send him his ECG, get diagnosed and reach hospital within minutes and get early treatment that can be life saving. 

Telemedicine : Rural areas that are notoriously inaccessible stand to gain massive benefits with the use of videoconferencing or telemedicine. An expert sitting in an apex institute can direct a local doctor passing on his expertise to treat a needy patient. Thus it helps in saving costs significantly , reduces strain associated with migration and speeds up the treatment. 

5) Insurance :  
Single most important factor that influences outcome of healthcare is cost implications. Worldwide health is the costliest thing and unaffordability claims many lives. In a poor country like India, these effects are multiplied several times. people lose their lands and livelihoods, their hard earned lifetime savings, all their properties and wealth in getting someone treated. Insurance is the solution for this malaise. Insurance provides the necessary financial support in times of need. The more people get insured the cheaper it becomes. As coverage of insurance increases, more people will be able to afford quality healthcare and reduce financial strain 

6) Advances in medicine :- What was thought impossible in the past has now been cured successfully today. Many cancers which were thought incurable are now getting diagnosed at much earlier stages and getting treated successfully.  PET scan helps diagnose tumor spread and helps to tailor the treatment accordingly.  Modern chemotherapeutic drugs promise to be more specific, less toxic and more effective.
Emergency angioplasties have saved many a lives of heart disease sufferers.   

Organ transplants include liver transplant, bone marrow transplant, kidney transplant even a heart transplant is a horizon in itself, promising new lease of life to chronic patients. 

 Infertility clinics with techniques like In-Vitro fertilization, sperm aspiration techniques, test tube babies are all reigniting fire in lives of parents devoid of children.  

Things like Bariatric surgery which helps reduce weight in morbidly obese patients improve the outcome significantly and reduce deadly complications. Minimally invasive surgeries promise significant reduction in post operative complications and incurred costsRobotic surgeries are new avenues seeking deadly perfection and extreme precision. Cosmetic surgeries are literally changing the face of healthcare. 

These new avenues promise to change the face of today's healthcare. Today only a few corporate hospitals like Apollo have these cutting edge technologies but in not so distant future those will be omnipresent. It will benefit India and all Indians to become more fitter, more healthier and more wealthier. After all health is the biggest wealth one can have. 

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