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Universal Health Coverage: from a pipe-dream to affordable reality

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Rekuram Varadharaj, Co-founder and COO, healthi states how UHC can be achieved and sustained

World Health Organisation’s goal of “Universal Health Coverage” this 70th World Health Day couldn’t be more well-timed. India is reeling under the burden of chronic diseases and our healthcare expenses are on the rise. The need for preventive care has also become more urgent today. While digital tools have eased the way for the medical community, offering truly effective healthcare coverage and preventive healthcare is still a challenge.

To complicate things, the number of diagnostic tools has ballooned – over 40,000 products are available today to test a range of conditions both in labs and remotely. Which brings up a new issue of relevance. So how can we ensure that, in making healthcare accessible, we don’t lose out on effectiveness and impact?

The answer may lie in personalizing the way we approach healthcare.

User-Centered Health Programmes: The Need Of The Hour

Personalisation is something we have come to expect, whether it’s in holiday planning or the stationery we use. So why is it that we are happy to accept a generic – even if sometimes all-encompassing – solution when it comes to our health? In fact, it’s arguably the one area where we need a personalised solution.

Health is a complex interplay of age, lifestyle, medical and family history, and a host of other factors. By extension, your health needs, too, are likely to be quite different from those of co-workers, friends, and even family. Which is why a catch-all, off-the-rack solution may not cut it. Routine health tests often miss key indicators for gender-specific or age-specific issues. Generic diet plans miss the nuances of your body and that requires personalised nutritional counselling.

To take interventional steps – both medical and lifestyle-based – you need to know where you stand and what you’re at risk for. To see lasting results, you need tests and health-related guidance that fit your profile, history, and health goals. This is achievable with the right support and expertise.

Making the shift to personalised healthcare

For the market to catch up with the consumer’s need for a more custom experience in healthcare diagnostics, lifestyle management, and medical treatment, the broader canvas needs to change. It’s a shift that’s happening worldwide, slowly but surely.

In India, custodians of healthcare like healthi have made this a focus area. Our suite of services is tailored to a person’s specific requirements and profile, using a strong data analytics platform. For instance, 20 per cent of the female workforce affected by anaemia at one healthi client discovered it for the first time after taking a personalised diagnostic test. 52 per cent of another client’s workforce had high cholesterol but indicators improved significantly after targeted counselling to support lifestyle and diet modifications. Actionable steps, ready access to the right experts, and the healthcare buddy system, where someone is regularly looking out for you, tend to make a world of difference.

Once you personalise a programme, you also take the guesswork and trial and error out of the equation. And this makes such user-centred initiatives more affordable. Fewer resources are wasted on irrelevant tests. What’s even better is that this approach is so much simpler. You don’t need to keep track of a dozen different health-related numbers that are hard to decipher. Your healthcare service partner takes a 360-degree view on your health, crunches data to make sense of the numbers, and knows what to offer you and when. The focus eventually shifts from just disease management to overall health and well-being.

In the long run, going the custom healthcare route is a win-win situation, in terms of outcomes, time, effort, and expense. So, let us simplify the task of taking charge of your health. While the WHO and local institutions rally together to make universal health coverage a reality, let us all play our part by adapting to this new personalised approach and making investments in our wellness.

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