Feeds:
Entradas
Comentarios

Posts Tagged ‘health system’

The current Covid-19 pandemic has made possible the explosion of telemedicine. Those more reticent to its use, healthcare professionals, have discovered that it is an efficient working tool.

At the same time, individuals have discovered that they have to take their health in their own hands. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about empowering the patient/individual. But only when the pandemic has hit us have we discovered that there are a lot of health apps that can help us to keep fit or control our ailments. The Quarterly Digital Health Trends Report has some amazing figures. Comparing pre-covid and post-covid Google searches, terms like healthy-eating or healthy-living have increased by 385% or 850% respectively.

It is easy to see how those two trends are related. Professionals feel that they have to be more efficient in the way they provide their services; teleconferencing is a very efficient way to deal with some consultations that do not require an in-presence meeting of patient and medic. At the same time, we individuals have come to the conclusion that we should not take advantage of the medical services by drowning them  with requests that could be solved if only we were aware of the implications of our behavior: basically eating, drinking and exercising.

Eating, drinking, and exercising, probably together with complying with medication medical orders, are the realm of apps. There has been a 22% year on year increase of downloads in health and fitness apps (The State of Health & Fitness Apps, SensorTower, 2020). The more we use these kinds of apps, the less the pressure on medics. I know there is a long way to go till health and social services realize that prescribing apps saves money to the system. We will have to go through a long period in which we will have to pay for those apps that will help us to keep fit and healthy. But what is sure is that the money will be well spent.

Read Full Post »

“… two-thirds of people aged 16 and over report to be in good health in 2016” (OECD/EU (2018), Health at a Glance: Europe 2018: State of Health in the EU Cycle, OECD Publishing, Paris.) Which means that one-third of Europeans think their health is less than optimal.

Taking care of roughly 170 million citizens is not easy. Our health systems are stressed to the limit even without the Covid-19 pandemic. But we have to deal with 170 million people with health problems, 340 million whom we don’t want to get sick, and all of the 510 million exposed to sar-cov-2.

To attend that demand there are approximately 1.7 million licensed physicians and 3.1 million practising nursing professionals. In relative terms, that means 333 physicians and 607 nurses per 100.000 persons (figures for 2018, Eurostat).

It has become quite clear that those numbers have not been able to cope with the pandemic; hence the second wave we are currently going through. I do not know, and what is more, nobody knows, who is to blame and where the fault lies. Only one thing is sure: healthcare professionals are overworked, non-urgent interventions are postponed, and the second wave is here.

We cannot “produce” healthcare professionals. “Importing” them should be ruled out. Depleting other countries of their professionals should be banned. Basically, this is saying: we take your professionals and you keep your pandemic. Furthermore, we will block your country so that no spill over will infect our sancta sanctorum.

Infrastructures are not easy to build and, in the best of scenarios, are just remedial actions for an already sick population.

If healthcare professionals cannot be produced and infrastructures come too late in the process to avoid illnesses, what is left? I can only identify ICT as the solution. Health and fitness Apps should be the solution to make a real difference. They are intended to prevent the user from becoming ill and help him to be fit. The time from inception to the market is relatively short.  And their price is in a range that most people can afford if, as is mostly the case, the healthcare system does not cover them.

Read Full Post »

How we call or qualify somebody does really matter and shows with more or less subtlety, depending on our stance towards what is now called political correctness, what we think about that person in particular.

Almost everybody will agree that if I address somebody as that person, the implication is that I don’t think very highly of him or her. Shopkeepers will treat people who enter the shop differently if they think about them as buyers –they should come, buy and leave- than if they think about them as clients –they are here to be served and will come back-.

If we assume  the above, why is it that in the health sector we keep insisting on calling people patients? According to the Free Online Dictionary (and I assure you very similar definitions will be found in any other dictionary) the definitions  for “patient” are:

adjective

1. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.

2. Marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance.

3. Tolerant; understanding: an unfailingly patient leader and guide.

4. Persevering; constant. “With patient industry, she revived the failing business and made it thrive”.

5. Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.

6. Capable of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: «My uncle Toby was a man patient of injurie» (Laurence Sterne).

noun

1. One who receives medical attention, care, or treatment.

2. Linguistics: A noun or noun phrase identifying one that is acted upon or undergoes an action. Also called goal.

3. Archaic: One who suffers.

A neutral reader will see that most of the definitions refer to suffering or calmly enduring something. Does this not say a lot about how the health sector regards what should be, and are, its clients?

Unless health professionals start thinking about people in need of health advice as clients, and calling them clients, I think there is little hope for an effective re-engineering of the heath processes that will result in the necessary sustainable health and social system. Anything less is just plugging holes in an antiquated social and health provision system.

Read Full Post »