This health tech brand is on a mission to make women more aware of their heart health
Women are creators, nurturers, and caregivers. They juggle numerous roles as diligent homemakers, supportive wives, caring mothers and daughters, and creative and dedicated professionals. However, in the process of donning these varied hats, they often let their own health take a backseat. To remind them not to do so, on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, California-based Omnyk is organising a special Facebook Live session with renowned Indian Cardiologist Dr P. K. Hazra, to speak about women’s heart health.
“There are many reasons why women ignore their heart health. Many believe it is a disease that affects only men, some are unaware of the symptoms particular to women which are distinct from those of men, others erroneously believe they are less at risk for negative outcomes than they actually are, and perhaps the worst of all is the wrongful association with a feeling of defeat when they eventually do recognise their symptoms,” says Yogendra Bobra, co-founder and CEO of Omnyk, speaking to YS Weekender.
What it is
The rate of cardiac arrests, even among young and fit people, and especially among women is increasing at an alarming rate due to higher levels of stress, and poor lifestyle choices. According to data published by the World Health Organisation, India accounts for one-fifth of the total deaths occurring from stroke and ischemic heart disease, especially in younger adults. Yogendra believes that in 2022, with the exigencies of the pandemic and increasing neglect of other serious health issues, this number is only set to increase further.
He explains, “To keep patients of heart disease safe in their homes by reducing their dependence on an already overburdened healthcare system, doctors, and other professionals in this space have increasingly been prescribing the use of personal heart monitoring devices. This is in keeping with the overarching healthcare strategy of improving access to care at home, by dealing with problems that frequently occur in the management of serious diseases and pushing forward innovations in treatment for higher quality and more advanced care at reduced costs.”
He believes the most effective way to do this is by using technology to improve efficiency and output. The Omnytraq solution launched by Omnyk, promises to be this comprehensive remote patient management solution focussing on patients of heart disease. It is prescribed and provided by healthcare professionals in hospitals, independent clinics, and senior care centres, as a service to patients.
As part of this three-step solution, a ring device called Avida is worn on the finger, which provides a snap-shot of the patient’s key body vitals in ‘real-time’. This is reflected in the attached app and saved on the cloud platform. The data on the cloud then enables remote monitoring, by delivering timely alerts, and reports with in-depth analysis.
Launched initially in 2015, Omnyk is a bootstrapped venture headquartered in San Jose, California with offices in multiple locations in India. Their Omnytraq solution was launched in 2021, and in that short time, they have managed to make meaningful partnerships with healthcare professionals and hospitals.
Yogendra shares, “We have engagement with a number of hospitals in the state of Karnataka, Tamil Nādu and West Bengal. We plan to expand our presence in other geographical locations in India soon.”
Women and heart health
In 2021, medical journal, The Lancet, published worrisome data showing that nearly 35 percent of women’s deaths around the globe are caused by heart disease. Since self-care is often a cultural phenomenon, Indian women especially tend to neglect their own health, which results in unfortunate consequences.
Interventional and Paediatric Cardiologist, Dr P.K. Hazra (MD, DNB, DM), Head of Department, Cardiology and Cath Lab, at AMRI Hospitals, Kolkata, has over 25 years of experience in the field of cardiology.
He explains, “Most of the women in our country neglect their heart and their healthy life because they are engaged with children’s education, husband’s welfare etc. They are responsible for many social and family things and that is why their heart is neglected. But this should not be the case. Women must take care of their heart, because they also suffer from diseases like heart problems, hypertension, obesity, sleep apnea, arthritis etc. For this, they need to incorporate lifestyle modifications, live a stress-free life and maintain good sleep hygiene. Exercise and diet are of utmost importance – regular health check-ups should also be done, and if there is a problem, they should consult their local doctor.”
Yogendra highlights that the lack of awareness of heart disease being the number one cause of death in women, is very problematic. He also shares industry statistics to show that heart disease in women remains under-diagnosed and under-treated, and that more women than men die within a year of their first heart attack (26 percent of women versus 19 percent of men).
International Women’s Day 2022
“To raise awareness on this important subject and answer the questions that women may have, Dr Hazra will be coming live on @omnykindia Facebook page at 4:00 PM on March 8 in a special program,” says Yogendra.
When asked what they hope to achieve through this session, he emphatically lists out the following pointers:
a. Increased awareness of the differences in symptoms of heart disease between women and men. And this applies to both patients and healthcare professionals, who are also sometimes unaware of this important distinction.
b. To assert that the severity of the negative outcome of heart disease is at par with that suffered by men.
c. To ensure that this awareness campaign results in equitable delivery of care to women to address their heart health issues.
d. Increased awareness of the innovative solutions available for management and care of heart health.
He signs off by saying, “I urge everyone to tune into the talk on Women’s Day, though the talk will also be available to view on our page later. Most importantly, all women must be aware of symptoms related to heart health. They should not ignore any feelings of discomfort. Having heart health issues does not have to be a death sentence. With simple lifestyle changes and the use of modern technological tools, everyone can lead a normal life, away from hospitals and without any negative impact or obvious signs of disease.”
Edited by Anju Narayanan