“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.