Faced with this reality, it is necessary to change the way we interact with people and identify more effective models in the current context. These models should have a holistic view and be person-centered. They must be proactive, monitoring with the necessary skills at every moment, with more frequent and shorter interventions which supports change management.
A healthy lifestyle is not a matter of “luxury”, as if it were something more superficial. There is no health without well-being. For example: a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and poor nutrition are the basis of conditions such as high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, obesity, and hyperglycemia. It all contributes to so-called non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, among others. At the end of the day, they account for two-thirds of all deaths before the age of 70 in the WHO European region, and a billion euros, according to the 2021 European Health Report. A large number of people do not realize they have these conditions.
In this context, technology can become a great ally of health systems, in improving operations, integrating personalized care and digital health care in different aspects.
Telemedicine, for example, attempts to replicate face-to-face consultations by phone or video, with corresponding limitations. For being, in this aspect, and way more intense, she is still taking her first steps. But technology that is available or is in the process of being allows us to do more. It allows us to enable video consultation of tools that allow a more complete physical examination, increasing the situations that can be resolved in this way.
However, digital health is much more than a remote or video consultation. It also covers the use of medical devices, some in the form of wearable devices. By utilizing all available tools, we can take a step forward, design appropriate clinical models for impacting conditions such as non-communicable diseases and their risk factors, using technology to implement them, in an easy and intuitive way, for people and the medical profession. The teams that serve them.
As a whole, training video consultations to solve clinical situations remotely – primarily for people who have to travel kilometers to reach them – and using and integrating technological tools to automate processes with increasing efficiency, to support clinical follow-up models that require frequent interactions can contribute to the sustainability of health systems. This ecosystem will make it possible to proactively deliver care, improving population health and quality of life at potentially low costs.
However, this is a huge challenge. It means promoting health and technology literacy, ensuring technology integration, clinical data security and interoperability, and changing different players and in different domains – from clients, through clinicians, to the entities that drive care.
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