Digital healthcare intervention in cardiac care will transform the overall care continuum: Experts

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India is witnessing the growing reliance and openness to accept technological intervention in cardiac care owing to the repercussions of the pandemic

COVID-19 opened the floor for a gradually growing discussion point i.e., digital innovation is the future of healthcare in India. The primary channel of healthcare delivery is still considered to be in-person consultation and while we’re not fully equipped to entirely shift base to digital, efforts are being made towards remote engagement.

The need is being felt especially as the world was pulled into a sudden lockdown and access to physical delivery of healthcare was halted. According to the Global Burden of Disease study, the estimate of age-standardised CVD death rate of 272 per 100,000 population in India is higher than the global average of 235 per 100,000 population. The focus was especially on cardiac care as recent reports suggest that there have been more deaths due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than any other medical reason in India. In the past two years, as nations have struggled with COVID management, what has come to the fore is the underlying preparedness in the areas of non-communicable diseases most notably cardiovascular diseases as they form one of the foremost risk factors for COVID-19.

India is witnessing the growing reliance and openness to accept technological intervention in cardiac care owing to the repercussions of the pandemic. The focus has also concentrated on preventive health through smartwatches to better manage your symptoms and raise the alarm early on. Technology can connect the dots, empowering doctors to deliver better outcomes and creating a continuum of care that goes beyond intervention.

Dr Abhay Tidake, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Associate Professor, LTMMC and LTMGH, Sion, Mumbai said, “To facilitate early detection and treatment of critically ill patients, we now have Artificial intelligence (AI), advanced algorithms, and predictive analytics. We are also making use of remotely connected care that allows electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnosis using cloud technology and Bluetooth-enabled cardiac devices. This serves the purpose of helping medical practitioners to measure the parameters without physically visiting the facility.”

He added, “The understanding of diverse patient profiles that require the treatment has also evolved over the years. As per a global report commissioned by one of the medTech companies, titled ‘Beyond Intervention’, technology, and data are critical to addressing challenges before, during, and after treatment. It is interesting how physicians and administrators can improve patient care—and the need for the right use of technology and data to enable more precise diagnoses informed decisions and determine better treatment strategies to ensure the best possible personalized care and improved patient health.”

Today, there are extensive portfolios in heartcare therapies that are cost-effective, minimally invasive, and improve patient outcomes. Precision PCI techniques have evolved in design and improved deliverability so that doctors can access and unblock difficult-to-treat blockages with more flexibility and precision while having confidence in the outcomes and safety. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) allows cardiologists to see the inside of an artery in 10 times more detail than if they were using intravascular ultrasound. Enhanced visualization and imaging techniques such as OCT are redefining cardiac care and changing the nature of how patients are treated with high-resolution images that provide accurate measurements and guide the doctor in making decisions on stent selection, placement, and deployment.

Dr Praveen Chandra, Chairman-Interventional & Structural Heart Cardiology Interventional Cardiology, Medanta Heart Institute shared, “Using advanced technologies can enable more precise diagnoses and better treatment strategies to ensure the best possible results. Technological advances can help providers select and treat the right patients, at the right time, with the right approach, thereby easing the burden on patients, healthcare workers, and healthcare systems”

The idea to focus on digital health is also a point where the doctor-patient relationship is being re-evaluated. Patients are now actively seeking answers to their medical condition and therefore proactively seeking the appropriate treatment and diagnosis. The aim continues to be to improve patient care and operating efficiencies. This is the era of remote, decentralized, and increasingly personalised patient care.

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