Sridharan Mani - Director & CEO
- American Megatrends India
" Men at some time are masters of their fates: "
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings." —
Cassius in Julius Caesar
Truly inspiring lines from William
Is healthcare playing the same hardline realities with us now? Are we becoming underlings of the healthcare system? Is our freedom for leading a healthy and happy life has taken a beating?
Let me start with a clear distinction between “Care” and “Cure” and review how we are progressing with Care aspects of health.
“Care” is serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly in order to avoid damage or risk.
“Cure” is to help sick person become healthy again by relieving the symptoms of a disease or condition that made the person ill.
“Healthcare”by definition should imply that necessary steps are taken to avoid damages to health and life. Is that happening?
Ask yourselves, in this real world, are we more mirrored by “Care” or “Cure” when it comes to health and life?
Be aware of the realities. Welcome to the world of Health care/cure – The Sickness Business.
You, me and them believe that the current healthcare system is for care and it is so not true. Here is why?
Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY)
The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death. It was developed in the 1990s as a way of comparing the overall health and life expectancy of different countries. (Source: Wikipedia).
In other words, DALY indicates the productive years of a life lost due to disease burden. Let us analyze the following (source: WHO).
When we compare the data between years 2000 and 2012, we can arrive the following.
• World population has increased by 16.4%
• Health spending has increased by 145%
• Life expectancy has gone up by 6.17%
• Years of precious life lost due to disability have also doubled – 107%
• Productivity/Income loss due to disability is significant and estimated to be 43.4 trillion by 2030.
Shall we conclude the following based on the above facts?
• Quality of Life is suffering: Life expectancy has gone up by 4.1 years but years lost in disability have doubled.
• If the spending has increased by 145%, why DALYs is not coming down and life expectancy has meagerly improved by 6.17%?
• Where the spending is happening and why it is not effective in reducing DALYs?
• Is today’s healthcare system fundamentally flawed?
Yes, Today’s Healthcare System is fundamentally flawed. Here is why:
• Primary Focus is on Cure. “Get Sick” to get attention else you are your own to stay healthy.
• It is no longer about “Care”. Encourages getting sick to get cured.
• Healthcare revenue model is based on the level of sickness. Higher the sickness, higher the revenue potential. Treatment is based on affordability. Please find below the table for cost of various surgeries as published recently by Times of India.
• Level of sickness is due to leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
• Importantly, unhealthy life puts additional burden on dependent's life.
• Biomedical waste, toxins and plastic dumping is an ongoing challenge and it does affect our environment.
• Doctors, Hospitals, Clinics and specialists are blamed or sued when misdiagnosis happens, as they have to deal with life and death situation every moment thus increasing the Liability of care.
• In year 2012, 93% of healthcare spending happened for “Cure” as per Frost & Sullivan Report. Very little emphasis is on “Prevention” and left to individuals to take care.
Honestly, you don’t have control over your health and depend on others to keep you hale and healthy!!!
Shall we say “Care” is fashion statement but the underlying aspect is “Cure” and today’s healthcare system indirectly promotes you to be sick than healthy to get the required attention?
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
Think, reflect and contemplate… It is your health… Take Control and Keep a Tab on your health.
“Cure” is always an aftermath attempt to recover to normal state after an event caused by ignorance or carelessness, whereas “Care” is to take adequate steps to prevent the occurrence of such an event by being cautious and aware. Let us review these situations.
In India, every 61 seconds, one person gets injured in road due to accident, and every 3.43 minutes one person dies. The underlying cause in many of these cases is reckless driving and carelessness. We take the roads for granted and not wear seat belts or helmets while driving.
While the poor infrastructure or potholes on roads could be attributed to administration, who is responsible for reckless or drunken driving, or simply not wearing protective gear/seat belts during the rides?
Knowing the road accidents are a common occurrence, are we taking the necessary preventive measures to avoid them? Are we being safe drivers?
Are we really “Caring” about the safety of our own and our loved ones on road, or are we just being lazy, arrogant and egoistic about our driving skills?
I have seen many people stating, “I am just going to end of the street” without wearing a helmet/protective gear. If we don’t care just enough, and continue the same attitude and behavior, only alternative available is cure. The helmet may cost around Rs. 1500 – Rs. 2000 but a cure from road accident involving spinal or traumatic brain injury may cost Rs. 10 – 15 Lakhs with sidelined disabilities which, could have been avoided with wearing a helmet.
Think of the magnitude of financial impact and discomfort that you would put your loved ones into; I bet you would become a more caring and defensive driver.
My friend from defense always said, “If you really love the girl in the backseat, don’t over speed or drive carelessly because the loss is unfathomable and irreplaceable.”
AIR, WATER & NOISE POLLUTION
If you are living in polluted environment, you are inviting disease-causing agents to your home. Diarrhea, Dengue, Malaria and many communicable diseases are caused by polluted environment. Open defecation is one of prime reasons for increasing disease-causing agents. All of nature’s gifts (clean air, clear water and a serene environment) are challenged and distributed because of our greed, to own everything that we access too. Successfully, we have deforested most of the earth and paying a price of climate change due to greenhouse gas effects.
Also, every event of hospitalization creates more biomedical waste that is made of plastics, toxins and pollutants which, could be reduced by taking care and avoid from such events happening.
The government has taken many steps, such as the ‘Swacch Bharat’ campaign, to promote clean and healthy environment. But still, the individual behavior has not changed. Still we find people spitting on the road, throwing thrash from moving vehicle or place of choice where they feel it is right.
Are we going to keep “Swacch Bharat” a fashion statement or truly act on it?
If we don’t take steps to keep our environment clean, we pay to buy mosquito coils, flu medication, and bottled water to get cure from Dengue, Malaria, Typhoid, Diarrhea and others. The prevention could be as simple as safely disposing the trash and avoid polluting the environment.
Think Again: Is it You, Me or Them, who pushed healthcare into ‘Health-Cure’?
It is important for us to leave our mother earth for the next generations with Clean Air, Clean Water and Serene Environment. Shall we take a pledge on it that we would do so?
Obesity is considered to be a major health risk factor. Studies have found obesity causes many diseases such as Heart disease and stroke, High blood pressure, Diabetes, Some cancers, Osteoarthritis, Gall bladder disease and gallstones, Sleep Apnea, Asthma, Gout and Reproductive problems.
Many people have become obese due to their choice of foods. Obesity is due to increase in calorie intake coupled with lack of adequate physical activity. Body fat increases when the metabolic activities are low and consumption is high.
Not having a proper diet or exercising regularly is one of the major causes for obesity. Again, addiction to junk foods and carbonated beverages is the leading cause for obesity.
With dieting and regular exercise, obesity can be prevented else the cure is to spend lakhs of rupees on surgeries and medicine to get back in shape.
Once again, the choice lies with us: Do we want “Care” or “Cure”?
If this addiction is present, why cry for a failing health condition? If these habits are cultivated, the likelihood of chances of organ failure increases, and the only choice is “Cure”. The price the person may pay for such cure shall run in multiple lakhs to crores.
TRANSFORM FROM ‘HEALTH-CURE’ TO ‘HEALTHCARE’
Kindly remember, Care is about Prevention and promoting to being Well. Prevention is always better than Cure, and it is inexpensive.
The transformation needed to take us back from Cure to Care is simple.
▪ IF YOU CAN PREVENT, WHY GO FOR CURE!!!
▪ Promote Wellness... Promote Good Health...
▪ Encourage leading life without diseases…
▪ Spend on activities, good food, products and solutions that help you to keep healthy and facilitate to keep a tab on your health.
▪ Regularly monitor vitals to keep a tab on your health. It helps you to:
By transforming from “Cure” to “Care” and by regularly monitoring health to ensure all health parameters in range, we can stay fit and reduce global disease.
As Peter Drucker said, “If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”
You may ask how to track health and ensure the individual health is normal and on the right track of care?
To check your vitals regularly in the comfort of your home, you could use American Megatrends lifestyle products such as AMI B.O.L.T and AMI VitalsFit.
AMI products have built-in functionality to indicate trends and help you to keep a tab on your health. AMI B.O.L.T is a one-touch wireless health monitor that allows you to check the status of your health at any given time. To learn more about AMI B.O.L.T., please visit www.amibolt.com
Today’s healthcare system is more focused on sickness cure and what we need in reality is prevention and wellness care. We are the writers of our own destiny and if we choose wisely to stay healthy and keep our environment clean, we can make the transformation from ‘Health-cure’ to ‘Healthcare’. I would like to conclude this article with the following takeaways.
▪ Remember Garbage In… Garbage Out... Choose your diet wisely...
▪ Prevention is always better than Cure... Saves you from disease burden and limit your out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare.
▪ Do preventive and master health check-ups/screening to know the state of your health at regular intervals.
▪ Use Healthcare-monitoring devices like the ones of AMI for health-trend monitoring and to keep a tab on your health.
This article is written in the interest of encouraging everyone to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle.
At American Megatrends (AMI), we promote "Prevention is always better than Cure" and we firmly believe in it. We, Team Danvantri, part of AMI, one among the 7 finalists of Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE that has designed healthcare products to take control of your health. Our healthcare products and services are designed to bring awareness of individual's health to palm of their hands. Our lifestyle products AMI B.O.L.T and AMI VitalsFit are designed to address these requirements by supporting individuals to measure the key health parameters in comfort of their homes. The ability to maintain trends and share the health records instantaneously with quality healthcare providers makes our solution unique and first of its kind.
AMI B.O.L.T is a one-touch wireless health monitor that allows you to check the status of your health at any given time. To learn more about AMI B.O.L.T., please visit www.amibolt.com.
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