Preventive health care is the solution and vision for future | Part 4 of 4

preventive health care

The phrase ‘treatment is prevention’ is used very frequently with HIV/AIDS treatment[1]. It is about time that the same concept is applied to other health concerns. Preventive health care is composed of five basic stages: Primordial prevention, Primary prevention, Secondary prevention, Tertiary prevention and quaternary prevention [2]. When preventive health care field was converted with digital health technologies (Bigdata, Gamification, HealthIT, and eHealth), the potential of preventive health care in the general health care field was revolutionized. In this converged format, the stages of preventive health care cover all aspects of medicine simultaneously with the disease progression and thus unifies all the themes of modern medicine (Table 1). The convergence of digital health technologies with the preventive health care practices has progressed the field of medicine in numerous ways we could not have predicted years ago. In other words, the innovative interdisciplinary preventive health care model has reshaped the landscape of medicine [3]. Due to the substantial involvement of digital health technologies in all aspects of preventive health care, it is justifiable to define this form of prevention as ‘digital prevention’[4]. In fact, billions of bytes of health data collected from these digital health technologies represent almost every aspect of our health, day-to-day life, and the environment we live in. Therefore, ‘digital prevention’ might be holding great promise for achieving the most primary goals of health care, preserve health, restore impairments, minimize distress and prevents death(Table 1).

As ‘digital prevention’ seems to be the most promising health care approach, there have been national ‘digital prevention programs’ being implemented. For instance, National Diabetes Prevention Program has implemented many digital prevention programs such as DPS Health, Noom Health, Omada Health, WellDoc’s BlueStar (FDA-approved) for prevention of type 2 diabetes [5-7]. However, some studies suggest that many of these digital prevention strategies for chronic disease conditions as diabetes still require better analytics and proper interpretations to gain full functionality of the technology [6]. It is apparent that the new development of health policies and modifications to institutional infrastructure will address these challenges shortly.

Digital health technologies have advanced to a point where they can monitor, record and analyze not only personal health data but also environmental data that are quite valuable regarding the impact of environment on health, such as disease outbreaks and air pollution [8]. Such digital health technological devices have many advantages in digital prevention which are not limited to reduced cost, high-efficiency data collection, portable and high accuracy.

Another significant aspect of digital prevention is the use of readily available Internet-based methods reach to the public and other interested parties to address health concerns. Mental health is a critical aspect of preventive health care. A digital prevention platform (http://www.preventionplatform.co.uk/) was developed to reduce or prevent consequences of violence and abuse of women and girls. Thus the platform is called Against Violence and Abuse (AVA), and it is working through youth services and schools through education and new policy development for the model of ‘Understand, Prevent, Educate’[9]. Fitbase is another digital prevention platform (https://fitbase.de/) based more on a holistic health management system which provides many resources and toolkits for preventive health care. Some of the services rendered through this digital prevention platform include health/preventive health education, individualized preventive solutions, health risk assessment, health screening, and workplace health promotion [10].

Collectively, health care resources should be allocated to promote and establish digital prevention as the solution for health care. Once the challenges of digitization, ethical issues with digital health data and infrastructure modifications have been accomplished, it is inevitable that digital prevention becomes the strongest health care tool.

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Table 1. Preventive health care as the new frontier and vision of health care and technology

Image credit: www.istockphoto.com

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