I look forward to a time when the ‘World Heart Day’ is no longer required. But for now, it’s more relevant than it has ever been.
In spite of many attempts by healthcare companies, medical community, and countless health advocacy groups (like the World Heart Federation, which celebrates the World Heart Day on September 29 every year), the cardiac epidemic continues to rage.
We all know at least one heart patient, probably in our own families. A heart patient is unlike any other chronically ill patient. Anyone who has lived through angina pain, and the fear of imminent death, does not forget it easily.
Some medicines have significant side-effects, which the patient is simple expected to bear. Regular check-up is a must, but is also very stressful. So the treatment and maintenance of a heart patient are also family-level projects in their own right.
Thus, there is immense opportunity for healthcare entrepreneurs to make a real difference in the life of millions of patients and their families, in India and around the world.
Insurance companies have witnessed about Rs 436 crore claims made, over two lakh heart surgeries a year, and about 20 lakh deaths. Many more are classified as “at-risk”.
Several of these cases are preventable through lifestyle changes. However, the heart conditions have grown among the relatively young – 12 percent of patients are under 40. Many deaths occur simply due to not reaching hospital in time.
As I said, the cardiac epidemic provides a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a real difference.
Solutions are a combination of targeting the population at large, as well as making specific interventions.
There are work being done in several areas:
- In promoting sustained lifestyle changes
- In disease and recovery monitoring
- In better drugs and equipment
- In driving adherence to medical advice
- In superior diagnostic techniques
- In healthcare delivery – especially in providing all of this care outside of hospitals to where the patient is
- And, in reducing the economic burden of living with a lifelong disease
The medical establishment alone is not enough to tackle the challenges. Startup activity in the healthcare scene has grown rapidly. The industry is seeing an influx of entrepreneurs from various other professions, especially the technology-oriented fields. New platforms, alliances and business models are being built.
And won’t all of that be worth it when the World Heart Day is no longer a thing!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)