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Impact of technology on threats to global public health : Burden of non-communicable diseases

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Clinivantage MyLife solutions can be used to combat with rising burden of NCDs by focussing on chronic care management programmes to these lifestyle diseases

Multiple health challenges are currently challenging the global health state and impacting many of the economies in developing nations. The outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria or increasing reports of drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity to health has become a threat to global health.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the global leading cause of morbidity and mortality and disproportionately affect more in developing nations. Mobile technologies are enabling new ways for NCDs management by providing powerful tools to both doctors and patients for effective prevention and treatment. As the common risk factors of NCDs are related to human behaviour; Clinivantage MyLife solutions can be used to combat with the rising burden of NCDs by focussing on chronic care management (CCM) programmes to these lifestyle diseases. Technology can provide effective NCDs management in developing countries—which have a lot of issues in their healthcare systems.

Companies like Clinivantage can help governments successfully implement the World Health Organisation’s new 5-year strategic plan – the 13th General Programme of Work. This plan focusses on a triple billion target: ensuring one billion more people benefit from access to universal health coverage, one billion more people are protected from health emergencies and one billion more people enjoy better health and well-being. Reaching this goal will require addressing the threats to health from a variety of angles, including leveraging new technology, devices, standardised protocols and near real time information to create a decision support system.

The prominence of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart plagues the national health system. These diseases are collectively responsible for over 70 per cent of all deaths worldwide, or 41 million people. This includes 15 million people dying prematurely, aged between 30 and 69. Over 85 per cent of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. The rise of these diseases has been driven by four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, alcohol use and unhealthy diets – all are behaviour related. WHO will work with governments to help them meet these global targets, governments have to start focussing on leveraging technology that can help make a meaningful impact on reducing non-communicable diseases, which are more lifestyle focussed and require behavioural changes.

Technology is improving the public health landscape, with mobile devices, telehealth setups, health information exchanges and more have made strides in helping both patients and providers. Increased ownership of these tools means that a majority of the country potentially has round-the-clock access to mobile applications to provide users need-to-know information at their fingertips and public health entities need to take advantage of this technology proliferation. Governments with Clinivantage solutions can focus on scaling up digital health and combating NCDs – Digital and specifically Clinivantage MyLife solutions have the potential to play a key role in transforming citizens lives for the better. Government can provide a powerful opportunity to extend and change how we access health services, as they can bring them to people in remote areas and can make universal access to healthcare for all a reality – across the globe.

Clinivantage MyLife Mobile supports countries and governments by providing technical expertise to integrate mobile health interventions in their national health systems and sustainably scale at the national level. Central tools in this are the mHealth applications, hospital integrated national health stack and practise management solutions, which consolidate all relevant information and background necessary: on set up and running programmes, deliver a desired health impact at scale, and integrate mHealth with digital and non-digital health services – presenting it in the form of plug-and-play, ready-to-use options for governments.

“Governments have to focus on assessments for anxiety, depression, addiction, cognitive ability along with early identification of four major NCDs – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers” says Nilesh Jain, Founder Clinivantage. He further explains “It is very difficult to effectively deploy treatment plans for long term chronic conditions, if behavioural health issues are not understood and addressed at a population level”. – For example, a diabetic with anxiety or depression is not likely to manage the long term chronic care protocol and follow through plans for blood glucose level checks, change in diet or exercise plans or even show up to appointments.

Key factor to improve NCD is integration of behavioural health into the primary care process. “Most often proper assessments of mental health conditions aren’t done and these conditions can significantly impact a patient’s physical health status, this calls for an immediate need to integrate behavioural health assessments into primary care, current mobile technology can play a major role in achieving this at a mass scale.”

Governments can implement WHO recommended set of low-cost interventions to improve access to basic healthcare interventions via the latest medical technology solutions. This includes management and distribution of essential medicines; deployment of affordable medical protocols required for early detection. This implementation helps with timely treatment of NCDs across four key criteria: (a) public health impact at large; (b) cost-effective technology solutions across clinical and non-clinical processes; (c) low cost of implementation by leveraging technology – process, tools and devices; and (d) feasibility of scaling up, particularly in resource constrained environments for developing nations.

Clinivantage solution deployment can improve efficacy of standard treatment guidelines and plans to treat and prevent NCDs, this will result in improved clinical management of patients. Improved availability and access of basic health technologies to diagnose and treat NCDs will positively impact the clinical management of NCDs across all the primary healthcare centres and improve patient outcomes.

Public health organisations are not prepared and do not have the technology, skills and resources, to deal with the growing issue of NCD management. The solutions developed for infectious diseases do not work for NCDs; and the enormous shift in disease patterns and the necessary response will force us to think differently on adoptions of technology and use of protocols. Non-communicable diseases are front and centre of the discourse around national health. Non-communicable diseases radically disrupts the future of national health and most of the governments don’t have the right latest technological competencies from connected devices, to cloud computing and AI solutions to deal with it. NCD’s are not just disruptive because of the epidemiological damage that they cause, but are equally disruptive in terms of the political, economic, technological, societal and health systems responses needed to make a sustained difference for the nation.

“NCD prevention and control should be seen as an urgent need of the nation and solutions must be integrated with existing initiatives leveraging the latest innovations in technology providing an opportunity to renew, reinforce and enhance commitments to reduce the nation’s overall burden on the healthcare infrastructure ” adds Jain.

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