HealthTech Director, Etc.
Why it’s time we discussed preventative care
Latest NHS figures show that nearly eight million people are currently on a waiting list to receive treatment or care in England. With a growing population that is expected to live longer, the need to address this situation and improve how we manage preventative care has never been greater. Last week, our team further scaled our health product for this exact reason. It is a digital app that is designed to prevent, detect and manage cardiovascular disease through early monitoring and pre-emptive intervention – and the programme could save the UK £1.5 million in healthcare costs over the next three years.
Over the last five years, the NHS has continued to develop its long-term plan, which aims to deliver more funding for services, increase investment for training, development and technology, and shift operations to create a stronger network of preventive and community-based care. It aspires to prevent 150,000 strokes, heart attacks and dementia cases over the next decade.
As a team, we work and engage with medical staff across the country every day – listening to the challenges and obstacles they face and supporting them to derive ways to overcome them. Collaboratively, and with the backing of NHS professionals, we created a product that identifies, monitors and reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular cases through a digital platform. Through an app, patients can upload their vitals and biometrics, enabling clinicians to monitor patients remotely and proactively contact patients if there are areas of concern. Consequently, people can continue with their day-to-day lives without needing to book a doctor’s appointment – freeing up time for medical professionals and clinicians to treat patients that need essential care.
The app is being rolled out in 26 GP practices in Northwest England, impacting almost 250,000 people. Our research suggests it could prevent 80 strokes and heart attacks by helping shift the NHS’s approach from reactive to preventative. We’ve already tested its capability too, having trialled the app in the first phase with over 1000 at-risk patients, reducing an estimated 30 heart attacks and strokes.
Preventative care plays a crucial role in maintaining a person’s healthspan, and creates a more efficient, cost-effective healthcare system. Regular screenings can enhance quality of life by reducing the risk of serious conditions. This is particularly important for managing risk factors associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. For example, if a patient is experiencing high blood pressure, clinicians can support the person with lifestyle changes to lower it- consequently reducing the patient’s risk from heart attack or stroke. The way the current system is managed means diagnosed patients are given a prescription and need to attend annual in-person appointments. By switching to our digital approach, they have earlier access to the resources they need to manage their condition, with instant remote access to clinicians where needed.
The potential this tool has to reduce risk of more serious conditions should not be underestimated. It can prevent health issues before they become severe thereby improving people’s quality of life. It also alleviates the burden on the healthcare system across the country – reducing the demand for emergency services and hospital resources.
My team and I feel privileged to be part of this movement – working with the NHS to deliver a product that will make a difference to the lives of many. We hope to see more initiatives that will improve individual wellbeing, reduce healthcare costs and create a healthier society as a whole. It’s time we all raised awareness of the benefits of preventative care, and I look forward to seeing how it evolves in the coming years.
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