But slowly, this is changing, and with the advancing power of medical innovation from companies like Philips, the power is transferring to where it belongs – the patient. True change toward a healthier lifestyle comes from one source: the patient.
It’s a shift that is overdue, welcome and completely imperative. Without it, the world simply cannot cope with the healthcare crises our ever-growing and ever-aging population inevitably brings with it.
In the US, the total cost of diabetes care hovers above $245 billion, and in the UK, the health effects of inactivity lead to annual costs of £6.5 billion. Across the world, chronic illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, already account for 38 million deaths a year, and across Europe, 42% of deaths are from cardiovascular disease.
This is not a list of numbers that makes for good reading.
Luckily though, there is one statistic that, on closer inspection, is not quite so grim: 90% of these could have been prevented with the right lifestyle changes.
This is where Philips’ new personal health programs come in. We know that an at-risk patient making the right lifestyle changes – exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking - can be difficult. We know that, regardless of the pressure put on them by their physician, most bad habits are engrained, and most people do not like being told what to do.
With this in mind, Philips has taken an approach that limits how much we talk at a patient, and favors an approach of talk with them.
Our health measurement devices gather information from a multitude of data points (activity monitoring, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, for example), and we work out with the user what it all means, and what we can do about it, together.