WatchMyHealth: introducing a new paradigm in health care
Dr G Ramesh Kumar MD MRCP (UK) DPM, Senior Consultant Physician and Director, WatchMyHealth
WatchMyHealth offers a systematic, holistic and scientifically robust system of managing chronic health problems continuously throughout the lifetime of individuals.
Its methodology is transparent and self-evident and is being continuously validated in our experience of managing hundreds of patients.
Essentially the system involves:
- maintaining up-to-date and comprehensive lifetime personal health records of patients in a cloud-based system - that is readily accessible to health care providers from anywhere, anytime.
- a robust system of monitoring using a clinically informed computer programme that calculates the monitoring dates accurately and specifically in accordance with the patient’s health conditions, risk factors and changing health parameters
- a systematic and transparent process of chronic health management that focuses on maintaining key parameters within their target ranges in addition to compliance with periodic special tests for early detection of diseases (eye and dental checks, pap test, mammography etc)
- the use of expert systems to support doctors in diagnostic and therapeutic decisions and to promote patient health education
The WatchMyHealth Personal Health Record (PHR) is an online document that brings together all health-related information of an individual within the framework of a single organized record that is easy to access via the internet and provides the foundation for continuous proactive preventive health care.
An important principle of effective preventive healthcare is that patients be educated in its principles and methods - enabling them to be independent and active in their healthcare and its monitoring. They should have a sound understanding of the goals and methods of attaining them. They should not be dependent on their doctor, hospital or clinic for monitoring, but should rather be encouraged to carry out tests themselves and actively participate with their doctors in the treatment process.
For example, diabetic patients should check their blood sugars at a minimum interval of once a month even if their sugars are well controlled, much more often if the sugars are high or too low. They should not wait for a prompt from their doctor or health centre to do this. They should be fully aware of the goals of blood sugar control (e.g., for diabetics, FBS < 120, PPBS < 180 and HbA1c < 7%).
They should have periodic educative discussions with their healthcare providers about these goals and the lifestyle measures and medications needed to attain them.
In participation with their doctors, they should formulate a treatment regimen that includes lifestyle measures and/or medications that will achieve the goals. If the goals are not achieved, they should feel free to ask for a second opinion or specialist advice.
WatchMyHealth envisages a system of unique personal health records that centralizes and presents to providers the complete health history of patients and into which all providers (including physicians, surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, dietitians) record their observations and input. Ready access to integrated and complete patient data through online PHRs enables holistic clinical assessment, prevents duplication of tests and avoids omissions and errors in treatment.
Health Monitoring and Continuity of Care:
WatchMyHealth focuses mainly on the continuous active monitoring of latent health parameters so that silent derangement can be detected early. For example, high blood pressure or blood sugar may not cause any symptom in the initial stages, but may result in progressive damage to vital organs such as heart and kidneys. The only way to prevent this is to be aware of these silent diseases and to monitor them at the required intervals. Corrective action involving lifestyle changes and medications would automatically tend to follow – as the very awareness of the problems would often motivate patients to comply with them.