Rethinking the Future of Healthcare with Precision Leading the Way
The Undying Value of Precision Health
Precision health is a holistic healthcare approach where prevention and treatment options are designed keeping a patient’s genetic makeup, family history, lifestyle, and health history in mind. The objective is to leverage the most advanced science and data to deliver ‘precision’ care. How does precision care differ from the healthcare we know? Unlike most treatments which keep an average person in mind, precision healthcare focuses on a personalized course of treatment, using AI to understand the person’s health journey better, monitor and predict a patient’s condition and make informed decisions.
Now, what is the need for precision care? Let us understand this by underlining simple facts. In a country like India, non-communicable diseases still contribute to 60 percent of all deaths. Add to that, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes are causing 82% of all NCD deaths. Now, when a pandemic strike, this is the vulnerable population. How you treat a person with diabetes for COVID-19 could be different than an average patient. Moreover, with patients living with NCDs, there is a need to identify the potential risk factors before prescribing a medicine. One size fits all approach doesn’t work in healthcare. Hence, the need for personalized solutions to cater to this population.
A GE Healthcare study, conducted with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), revealed that nearly half (45%) of HCPs in the UK and US were using AI to help minimize administrative burden, boosting their ability to spend time with and provide care to patients (even before the pandemic).
What precision health does, is provide actionable insights by making use of big data through AI and help tailor the solutions for a major part of the population. Thus, better patient outcomes.
Credit it to advanced innovations, we now have tools that support organizations on the path to precision health by enabling medical AI algorithms and supporting healthcare applications.
Making Precision Health Work: Digital Adoption
As we strive to move toward the post-pandemic world, we cannot ignore the value of digital adoption in shifting our healthcare preferences. We are using everything from virtual care, remote patient monitoring, AI integrated medical devices and intelligence-based infrastructure. As per a survey in 2020, 85% clinicians used teleconsultation and digital platforms during the pandemic infused lockdowns in India. Interestingly, healthcare organizations are opening their doors to more versatile IT solutions that can integrate and aggregate data to derive actionable information about patients. These analytics can help us prevent or fight better, healthcare crises of the future.
Today, we have solutions like GE’s state-of-the-art Edison based solutions, where data from a network of clinical data sources can be easily aggregated, analysed, displayed and made accessible to various applications that allow clinicians quicker and smarter clinical decision making.
We are witnessing the impact of Tele-ICU solutions wherein Apex Hospital, Jaipur, from 10 to 15 patients who were cared for daily, the number has surged to 100. We now have digital solutions like the Critical Care Suite AI embedded in an X-ray. It allows a radiologist to get faster diagnosis. Such technologies are here to shape the next leg of healthcare.
Riding on the digital-India wave now is the time for strategic collaborations within the industry, smarter PPP models, adoption of technology available at our disposal, and confiding in AI to better patient outcomes. We are preparing ourselves for the future where pandemics will not be our only threat. The question we should be asking now— How can we leverage technology into the future of healthcare?