As the world is still limping back after the sabotage done by the COVID-19, on September 29, World Heart Day was observed by the healthcare sector and world at large. Wellthy Therapeutics hosted a knowledge sharing webinar with Dr Mrinal Kanti Das, the President of the Cardiology Society of India and a Senior Consultant Cardiologist, who imparted knowledge gained during his illustrious career of 35 years.
Dr. Das started his webinar about the monstrous COVID-19 that engulfed the entire world and how people suffering from heart conditions were more vulnerable to the deadly virus. He addressed the grave concern of 70% of the COVID related deaths were identified as patients with pre-existing hypertension. Subsequently, Dr. Das also explained how hypertension, coronary artery disease, coronary kidney disease, heart failure, stroke, valve dysfunction, are interconnected, and in his words form a ‘cardiac continuum’. All the mentioned conditions require constant monitoring and managing. The process also needs well-informed guidance from a professional to help and educate the patients about the do’s and don’ts and encourage for diligent treatment adherence. However, at times the gap between a healthcare professional and the patient is too wide, which could lead to complicating the pre-existing condition and lack of treatment adherence. He cited a survey conducted by World Health Organisation (WHO), health care professionals do not match up with expectations and demand for non-communicable diseases like hypertension by 53%, diabetes by 49%, and cardiovascular diseases by 31%. (1) The survey also highlighted the shortage of medicines, lack of diagnostics infrastructure, and outdated technology as the reasons for the gap created.
Dr. Das shared his observation on how the gap is now cemented with the advent of Digital Therapeutics (DTx) platforms. He further added, how Wellthy Therapeutics is providing the solution to improve the outcomes, and biological factors. The pre-existing gap was further widened with the outbreak of the pandemic. The lack of physical examination and one on one interaction with the physician have only added to the challenge of treatment adherence. Digital Therapeutic enhances daily intervention and monitoring for patients with chronic conditions. He also added, how the heavy digital penetration around the globe and the availability of handheld devices have augmented the accessibility to digital platforms.
Dr. Das shared that an early diagnosis and a cautious approach can avert a dominoes effect on the cardiac continuum and keep the condition in control. He cited six major and specific reasons for the gap:
- Failure to make risk factor modifications
- Failure to elicit and follow people’s goals and needs
- Failure to diagnose
- Failure to use proven the first line of treatment
- Failure to use advanced treatments
- Failure to provide supportive care
Pointing out these gaps, he explained that if these gaps were, it could improve cardiovascular care and reduce the burden of unnecessary costs on healthcare infrastructure and patients alike.
Towards the conclusion of the informative session, Dr. Das highlighted how digital platforms like Wellthy Therapeutics helps in monitoring and educating the patients, certain technologies have even enabled enhanced diagnosis methods, teleporting and solving many such healthcare pain points for the patients. On a parting note, he shared his observations that although there hasn’t been any digital attack on the current digital health infrastructure, the threat cannot be ruled out. According to Dr. Das, Virtual Reality (VR) is the future and appreciated the medium for connecting a wider base of listeners even for webinars.