As much as access to healthcare is a fundamental part of our lives, it is also a big business. The numbers speak for themselves. The sector accounts for 14% of all U.S. workers – roughly 22 million people – and government spending on healthcare grew 9.7% in 2020, reaching $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per person. Unfortunately, the data indicates that as the population ages, health deteriorates, and healthcare spending invariably rises.
Reinventing healthcare means focusing more on preventive medicine instead of curative. Every patient can achieve optimal health through at-home, intuitive tools such as urinalysis that continuously monitor their health. This results in early detection of diseases, before the onset of symptoms, with quicker, easier treatments for patients. Such an approach leads to a better quality of life for individuals instead of problem-solving after the onset of illness.
Halting the speed of progression of chronic diseases by remote monitoring such as Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, urinary tract infections, and diabetes impacts lives dramatically.
Continuous remote monitoring provides a new lease on life
As an example, the elderly population benefits tremendously if healthcare transitions to preventative care as a primary form of home health. In the U.S., 70% of people who currently use home healthcare services are 65 years and older. The most common medical conditions in this age group requiring home care include diabetes, UTI, heart disease, and cerebral vascular diseases.
The benefits of placing a stronger emphasis on self-monitoring in elderly patients include the ability to detect the onset of several medical conditions such as certain types of cancers, heart failure, dehydration, kidney stones, and inflammation in the urinary bladder. Thus, for example, an at-home urine tests device which provides continuous urinalysis can give early detection of health deterioration or onset of symptoms. Early detection and treatment should significantly improve a person's quality of life.
Healthcare in web3 (metaverse)
As healthcare embraces technology and remote care, Web3 (metaverse) is at the forefront of transforming the sector. While it has its share of critics, this augmented virtual world is not a new concept. Some might even argue that we have been living in some form of the Web3 (metaverse) for years already.
Take telemedicine as an example of the Web3 (metaverse) in action. A recent McKinsey survey found that two-thirds of physicians and 60% of patients agree that virtual health is more convenient than in-person care. Futurist Bernard Marr said that with these telehealth consultations do not limit patients to the healthcare providers physically closest to them. For instance, U.S. patients can see specialists from anywhere in the world and vice versa. Such access not only broadens care, but patients are able to address issues of concern earlier, catching any potential problems before it is too late to treat.
The benefits are limitless to patient care in rural areas and developing countries where access to medical professionals is limited. They will have access through web3 (metaverse) or MetaHealth to be treated with the best medical care in the world!
Similarly, taking healthcare into Web3 does improve medical training. Doctors and specialists are already using virtual reality technologies to train medical staff regardless of their geographic location. VR technologies take students inside the human body to get a 360-degree view of a disease or replicate procedures done in the real world. The blockchain is playing a fundamental role in managing and securing sensitive health data —no more concerns about ransomware infecting hospital servers. All of this is to say that harnessing new technologies from sectors like AI, cyber security, IoT, and more is having a direct impact on our ability to promote preventative care and healthier lives.
The bottom line? We should aim for technology that provides continuous at-home monitoring for patients to improve their health and quality of life and ease the financial burden on the healthcare sector. Such monitoring solutions will make the ratio of patients to doctors more manageable and thereby also help reduce the growing gap of medical professional specialists to a more reasonable number. Concurrently, these devices empower individuals to understand their bodies and take control of their own and their loved ones' daily health.
Corey Katz is the Co-Founder and VP of North America at Olive Diagnostics.