1 Patient 1 Life

Why we need to reduce risk preventively

Every patient life matters. Because a patient is an individual. A patient is someone’s daughter, son, mother, father, sister, brother, close friend.

Many of us have had experiences when things go wrong to us or a loved one — it takes over that person’s life, and if you are a caregiver, yours too. Sometimes it ends fatally. For me personally, my grandfather passed away from a recurrent heart attack.

“We have to do better”

My grandfather’s last heart attack has especially stuck with me as it was in the first week of me moving to a new country (US). He had his first heart attack before the age of 50. This is too young.

Observed and predicted risk over 10 years of follow-up. Source: http://heart.bmj.com/content/100/1/60

25% of heart attacks in South Asians occur under the age of 40 and 60% of first heart attacks occur under the age of 50. South Asians in particular are 4x more likely to get heart disease and more likely to die from heart disease. Globally, the cost in social capital is large as well: heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #2 killer in the world. This is a terrible loss of life.

Early definitions of the word patient were to “endure hardship without complaint.” With modern medicine and the advanced technological advances at our disposal, we can do better. We have to do better.

“Reducing risk is the first step”

We need to continually get better at treating heart attacks, strokes, and other such events once they happen; and this is crucial. But as the human population ages, chronic disease incidence increases and our current systems, methodologies, and institutions will be insufficient. We need to prevent, not just fix.

The main metric in preventive medicine is risk — the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke, of getting diagnosed with diabetes, etc. Reducing Risk is the first step.

While the methodologies to calculate this risk are imperfect and the inputs to calculate this are often incomplete, this allows some quantification of a person’s “state” and evolution. If a patient is able to reduce their risk, they can avoid an event such as a heart attack or stroke (primary prevention), or prevent a recurrence (secondary prevention).

This is a self-fulfilling system. The more data that is collected on successful attempts to reduce risk, the more we can build best practices on how to manage risk throughout a person’s life, and for each different circumstance.

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More about HealthPals:

HealthPalsCLINT platform provides clinical guidance tools for physicians to access specialty knowledge and best practices seamlessly into their workflow and personalized to each patient. Through the use of technology, we can codify medical knowledge and best practices and provide that to doctors, hospitals, and patients — at the point of care and a population level. We can leverage Machine Learning in key points in the closed feedback loop to provide advanced risk assessments and to provide a self-learning platform to improve decisions, outcomes, and visibility.

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