The whole disease paradigm has changed. A couple of decades ago it was infectious diseases like malaria, cholera, typhoid, influenza, AIDS, TB, etc, that was the scourge of the planet. People were dying - hospitals systems and pharmaceutical advances were focussed in alleviating the suffering in these areas. Governments and world bodies came together to fight this war and were successful. Today these diseases have been nearly eradicated - but more dangerous killers loom.
Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cancer, Mental Health and Neurological Diseases diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have taken centre stage as the pandemics of society. None of them even have a virus or bacteria causing them - they are all disease of lifestyle. Unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyles, stress and lack of exercise has led to this situation with often life threatening consequences.
The good news is that these epidemics can be arrested and better outcomes achieved. It however requires education, awareness, monitoring and management. Precise assessment of personal risk, timely detection, appropriate interventions and ongoing care management have become the mantra of a new health and wellness lifestyle. Within this framework, modern technologies like genome mapping, health risk assessment, biometric tests and mind/body analysis have tremendous potential.
Furthermore, information technology, networks, smart phones and app become the medium of choice to deliver knowledge, content and communication, while at the same time, collect data and patterns that deliver insights real time and all the time. This emerging ecosystem called Digital Health has the power to become the enabling continuum that can hold our society’s wellness’ shape shifting fabric and actually make a difference in public health. We can all come together via this live, intelligent neural network.
When this intelligence is made available to that class of professionals that society has tasked to look after our continued health and wellbeing - the physician community, the ultimate union is possible. Better health for all!