“If you look at healthcare today, it’s all about disease. It’s not about understanding wellness at all.” – Leroy Hood
The healthcare industry is growing at a tremendous pace owing to its extensive reach, services, and increasing expenditure by public as well as private players. With the healthcare industry in India on a rise, the current systems are still inefficient to handle the burden of lifestyle diseases either from a financial perspective or due to lack of manpower and an engagement-oriented model. The increasing burden of chronic disease care is threatening to break apart many health care systems globally and therefore the need of the hour is to focus more on holistic wellness models.
So how do we define Wellness? Wellness is a continuous and active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth. Therefore, it is essential to note that working on the wellness aspect in health care space is the only way forward as mere services pertaining to illness only results in short-term results.
Around $2.9 Tn is spent on healthcare annually and 75% of this is to treat chronic lifestyle diseases that can be easily prevented or managed through behaviour modification and positive lifestyle choices. Although digital preventive medicine has drastically helped lower the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases who end up in hospitals, these chronic illnesses make up about 50% of global health issues.
Wellness Versus Illness: What Works Now
Apart from advancements in digital preventive medicines, the healthcare and technology sector has immensely developed in the last few years through the rise of wearable technology (fitness bands), mobile apps and platforms to track personal health, and digital programmes. These have now replaced the traditional health plans.
Sensing this opportunity, new age health startups are now focussing more on providing wellness solutions rather than illness solutions also because illness solutions are subject to many resource and regulatory constraints. Some of the key wellness solutions that startups are providing are gadget friendly and web – enabled services, addressing the problems of Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiac Care, stress management, pregnancy care and general well being.
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Many startups today are providing solution via wearables, IoTs, mobile devices and mobile-enabled home monitoring devices enabling data collection, coaching and better management. These startups have also developed programmes to help consumers get an understanding from their own data and assist them to develop the lifestyle that would keep them healthy.
Healthtech Apps That Can Be Used To Manage Chronic Diseases
Many companies are partnering with wellness companies to provide IoT solutions for managing diabetes and hypertension through a Bluetooth enabled device measuring Blood Glucose and Blood Sugar and transferring it to an iOS or Android mobile app that store and process the data.
The data is available through cloud to be shared with the care provider. The continuous monitoring of the chronic vitals were found to have significant impact on the reduction of the deviated vitals. The Bluetooth-enabled pulse oximeter and weight machine can also be linked to this mobile app and helps in managing the cardio vascular disease.
Cardiac Design Labs provides mobile-enabled cardiac monitoring solution by providing 24×7 live ECG feed that is transferred to the cloud through an Android Phone. This helps the care provider to detect the arrhythmia and missing heart beats that might get skipped at the time of conventional ECG.
Fitness bands helps people to track their steps and running adventures through mobile and helps people to reduce weight and lead a healthy life.
This level of personalisation is achieved through analysing the usage pattern behind a range of features they provide, such as a smart dashboard, health vital tracking, food and exercise tracking, health risk assessment, and health content. Through this analysis, the systems are able to provide insights about the improvements one can make in their daily lifestyle.
The key feature of such a model is the high engagement that they provide by gamifying and incentivising their consumers, to enable lifestyle modifications. These web platforms also bring all the health benefits for consumers under one large umbrella.
Nutrition Planning: The Way Forward
There is another segment of new age startups primarily focussing on the nutritional value of food intake so as to supplement the needs of a diet plan. They provide healthy meal plans and nutritional guidance for following a better lifestyle and avoiding chronic lifestyle diseases. Nutritional meal providers or health food startups are now tying up with Healthcare service providers to integrate health and wellness requirements of the individuals. This enables them to order healthy, nutritionally balanced meal.
The consumers, for instance, are provided ‘healthy-well balanced meal’ delivery integrated into their wellness programs while helping them stay committed to their personalised wellness goals. These startups help people achieve their health goals, through personalised nutrition and lifestyle advice with portion controlled tasty food so that they enjoy food as well as get the right nutrition.
These nutritionally prepared diets are formulated by a set of professionals like fitness experts, nutritionists, and culinary experts on the basis of medical information shared by the individual with them.
Wellness companies are helping initiate as well as facilitate this shift of mindset to focus more on the holistic wellness of an individual by bringing unique solutions and homegrown technologies to prevent and manage health issues, especially the chronic kind and improve the overall health (physical and mental) of millions of consumers. But this shift in the mindset of consumers still has a long way to go.
About The Author
[The author of this post is Rajesh Mundra – CEO of TruWorth Wellness.]