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The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that Non Communicable diseases contribute to 66 per cent of all deaths in India and cardiovascular diseases, commonly known as heart disease, is the most prevalent NCD which affect urban as well as rural India. A more worrisome fact is that 6 out of 10 people in India are unaware that they are suffering from heart conditions. Several young celebrities, seemingly fit physically, have succumbed to heart attacks in recent times sending a shocking revelation across all age groups on the lack of awareness of one's body conditions. We are forced to accept the fact that cardiac ailments have moved to a significantly younger age group.
World Heart Day, on September 29, is focused on creating awareness about heart disease. The government of India also recognizes the severity of this disease and a large number of Indians, majorly in rural areas, are unaware of their situation. Recently, India also received an award from the UN for the 'India Hypertension Control Initiative'. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted, "IHCI has strengthened the mission to ensure health & wellness for all." We are committed to building a healthy and fit India, he further noted. This initiative emphasizes the requirement for regular health check-ups.
Many Health-tech innovations are directed at cutting-edge mobile, AI, ML, and analytics technologies to create solutions that fulfil this need and to support state and central governments with their vision. Devices which resemble a conventional DTH set-top box in size and weight are now available and can be carried anywhere in a backpack or even a handbag and are simple enough to be used by people with basic training. These devices are known as Point of Care devices (POC) since they deliver results immediately.
Combining the advantages and precision of smart diagnostics and AI, these devices are capable of providing accurate and quick diagnostic results for patients. These medically graded devices are capable of smartphone app integration through which a person can also be provided with doctor consultation, prescription, and their health records can be digitally stored.
A POC device with integrated 12 lead ECG can be useful in indicating a heart attack case. It can also detect the presence of Troponin I, CRP, and D-Dimer in the blood, all of which serve as indicators that a previous incident has occurred. With POC devices, it is possible to identify heart diseases at an early stage and their severity. The clear advantages of this device are early diagnosis, delivered optimally in every part of the country, including far-flung areas that suffer from lack of access and basic infrastructure.
In a country like India where the healthcare ecosystem is tasked with taking care of over 1.35 billion people, diagnostic services are even more crucial. A minor error of calculation or inaccurate reading can alter decisions and the entire therapeutic process, resulting in disabilities and even loss of life. Wrong or inadequate treatment or errors that result in a person being considered 'not at risk' can not only lead to financial damage but also health implications in the longer term.
There is a marked change in the global healthcare landscape and one of the biggest challenges today is in the form of chronic conditions such as heart diseases. They are innocuous and under the surface and yet make people incur the heaviest costs in terms of loss of quality of life, expenditure, and even death at a young age. Through technology and innovation-driven approach and point-of-care solutions, it is possible to overcome these challenges and ensure that the younger workforce leads the nation on the path of development without any side effects. This is the need of the hour in the new normal.
(This article is authored by Dr Muthu Dhandapani Vice President - Quality, Regulatory and Product Delivery, HealthCube)
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