Handling Diabetes in the Growing World of Internet and Digital Advances
Worldwide, around 422 million individuals suffer from diabetes mellitus, as per the statistics of World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016. Of this, 85-90% have Type 2 diabetes.
India today, ranks a close second, after China, in the number of persons with diabetes. As per the International Diabetes Foundation, more than 62 million Indians have diabetes. It is projected; these numbers will rise to 109 million by 2035.
India's economic development has not only led to higher incomes but also an increase in the number of persons living with diabetes. This growth amongst India's mounting middle class is attributed towards:
1. Easy availability and increased intake of packaged and junk food which are high-calorie foods, high in sugar and saturated fats leading to overweight and obesity.
2. Deskbound lifestyles and overall lower physical activity.
3. Genetic factors or family history
Diabetes known as the ‘silent killer’ kills close to 1 million Indians every year. Approximately 75 percent of these people with diabetes die of either a heart disease or a stroke. When a diabetes patient’s blood sugar rises, it affects directly the blood vessels in the body. This leads to difficulties in blood circulation, thereby increasing the risk of foot problems, kidney failure, stroke or heart attack. Disregarding the very symptoms of diabetes, which are, increase in urination, increase in hunger and increase in thirst levels, is an open invitation to the silent killer. While premature death where heart attacks and strokes are listed as the principal cause on death certificates, it is actually diabetes the silent killer behind these causes of death.
So what role does digitalization play in diabetes? Will it help to display this sickness on digital platforms? Yes, most certainly. Posting about diabetes on the Internet will help to increase the awareness and understand the risks that diabetes poses if not treated in time. With most people young and old, having Internet access, online presence is proving to be one of the most effective platforms to reach patients in today’s world of medicine. Digitalization in diabetes helps in managing blood sugar, in analyzing real time data, in predictive diagnosis, in cloud storage for reports and in days to come could further make advancements with 3D printing and artificial intelligence and robotics.
Digital health is the conjunction of traditional health care with newest technology. Social media platforms, websites, telehealth services and mobile apps is the way forward for doctors and patients to interact. Diabetes technologies have expanded well beyond the glucose monitoring device. Patients are educated, digitally savvy and well informed. They use fitness trackers and smart watches to monitor physical fitness sleep patterns and use cloud-connected monitoring systems, which integrate device data into a third-party system.
On the other hand, Doctors in India have also incorporated digitalization and internet marketing into their practice. From private clinics to hospitals in every city, Indian doctors have knowledge of the Internet and utilize it towards their profession. From patient bookings and patient records, to latest research on medicine and medical equipment, to use of latest mobile apps, 88% of these doctors located in the cities of India use the internet to connect with patients while simultaneously working to get more traffic/patients.
Knowing the meaning of healthcare marketing, most doctors in towns and cities of India are aware of the importance of a digital marketing strategy to have a presence on the digital platform to remain connected with patients as well as amongst fellow doctors. Quick prognosis with easy availability information and data evaluation without internet connectivity would not be possible.
In the field of diabetes, mobile apps are making the lives of patients with diabetes simpler while easier for the doctor to monitor. Some of the well-known apps for diabetes are:
1) Wellthy Diabetes
2) Life in control
4) Apollo Sugar
5) Habits Diabetes Coach
How do these apps work? 1. The doctor makes a customized plan for the diabetic patient by using the available preset template or by creating his/her own on the app. 2. The patient then receives a link to the app preloaded with his/her customized plan. After it is received, the patient follows instructions by the doctor on how to log in the data, which the doctor can thus track. 3. Basis the digital data collected, the doctor can make changes, recommendations and interventions in real time.
Abbott’s Flash Glucose Monitoring System, has been one of the most successful healthcare digital monitoring tool for diabetic patients since 2015. It provides the glucose monitoring technology for people with diabetes. Its software presents data in a user-friendly, visual chart, enabling doctors to help their patients manage their diabetes effectively.
Diseases like diabetes require close monitoring and follow-up. It would never have been this easy and precise without the integration of digital tools. Digital apps provide for every patient his/her real-time data sharing with doctor and further e-prescriptions accordingly.
The reasons why it is necessary for healthcare professionals to get onto India’s growing digital platforms are:-
1.Large hospitals have larger data being generated each day. Data analytics professionals are required to maintain electronic health record systems in the patients database to facilitate efficient clinical outcomes.
2. Doctors who are also quick to adapt to new software solutions and apps can have access to better patient records in real times which makes it easy to diagnose and treat further.
3. With patients doing an online search on their medical condition, doctors need to be better informed on the latest research in medicine, artificial intelligence and robotics in order to communicate with the patient on how it can be used to treat them.
4. Digital marketing for doctors is the key to increasing the number of patients. Same goes with hospital marketing.
5. Doctors In India should also consider mobile wallets and online payments for their fees. Currently this business is to large extent cash based.
Digital technology is a step towards motivational stories. The convergence of the health sector with the latest digital advancements is pushing for doctors and hospitals to get on the digital platforms and to integrate technology to bring them closer to their patients. The best healthcare marketing agencies and top medical advertising agencies are offering their services for healthcare marketing, medical marketing and medical advertising for doctors and hospitals in India.
Two aspects would make the difference for Physicians who are treating Diabetes – one is their know how of these digital tools including mobile and web apps, and second being their effective use of digital marketing for reaching out to more number of patients and present themselves in a positive light.
Today diabetes is attracting the biggest pharmaceutical companies to provide innovating solutions to handle and curb this fast growing disease.
A message for all of us, is to take diabetes seriously from the start to prevent complications as the best of healthcare is not going to help once the cascade of complications sets in. Your life is precious not only to you but to your loved ones as well so manage your diabetes today. With a growing Internet savvy population, India is addressing this disease with the help of healthcare advertising agencies to reach the masses. Health is Wealth, so don't just die with diabetes, deal with diabetes!