Digital Health As The New Trend in Preventative Care
Preventative care is what health specialists envision as the future of medicine. Countries such as Canada, Japan, and Sweden have already implemented the use of preventative care in hospitals and show how it reduces medical costs and promotes health. The main idea of preventative care is that consistently monitoring a patient’s condition will enable doctors to treat diseases before the need for extreme, expensive measures.
While US health care institutions are slow to adapt, it does not mean patients cannot access this improved methodology themselves. One of the leading ways for patients to implement preventative care is through innovative Digital and mHealth, consumer focused mobile technologies.
The advantages of preventative care are highlighted when it comes to male health care, specifically lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). Preventative care does not mean weekly visits to your doctor, it can be as simple as being mindful of your own health which can stop LUTS.
LUTS includes everything ranging from frequent needs to urinate to difficulty urinating. While it is rare in young men, it could also mean urinary tract infections and bloody urine. These symptoms result from an enlarged prostate, the gland that surrounds the urethra which allows urine to leave the bladder. Naturally, overtime the prostate grows which can block the urethra and cause LUTS. This is mainly attributed to genetics, but obesity, diabetes, and heart disease can increase a person’s risk of having symptoms.
37.5% of men younger than 39 said to have experienced bladder issues, the most common symptom among young men. A survey of 30,000 men found that 72.3% of adult males are regularly impacted by LUTS.
Many of them decide to go to the urologist when the problem becomes acute and often times requires surgical intervention. In reality, if the problem is detected early on, one can avoid its further progression and worsening of the symptoms.
All surgeries consist of destroying part of the prostate via laser or incision to allow urine to empty out of the bladder regularly. However, these treatments also run the risk of scaring the urethra and leading to infertility. Even if less evasive measures can be used such as medication, it is still costly. There is also a correlation between LUTS and erectile dysfunction.
One such example of an mHealth solution enabling preventative care is a San Francisco based startup, BE Technologies. The startup developed a unique uroflometry application, MenHealth® that lets a man monitor his urologic health easily with his smartphone virtually anywhere there is a toilet.
The founder of the company, a prominent physicist and researcher had suffered from degenerative urologic disease for a long period of time. He discovered that this is a huge problem that stresses a lot of men starting from the age of 30. He then founded MenHealth® with the mission to enable men to implement preventative care and take control of their urinary health early on.
Men can use MenHealth® as a preventative mobile technology to regularly monitor their urine flow to detect early changes themselves, long before there are serious symptoms that need the involvement of a doctor.
By aggregating many data points through regular testing, men can provide a well defined pattern of flow changes to their personal doctors or urologists, who then know better how to treat the symptoms.
Preventative care starts with awareness, mindfulness, and regular adherence. It is becoming exceptionally clear that Digital and mHealth technologies are leading the advancements of preventative care by offering immediate and early access to patients to monitor their health.