The Challenge Ahead
by Alex Mokin
Meeting the healthcare needs of the world’s population is an unprecedented challenge. There are 7.6 billion of us, some in perfect health and others suffering from multiple chronic conditions. Almost all nations are seeing an increase in average life expectancy, and some of the most pressing health concerns centre on conditions that are lifestyle related, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
In the more developed healthcare environments, clinicians and healthcare systems are increasingly seeking to focus on the individual needs of patients. Not all drug therapies work in the same way for all patients, even those presenting with identical symptoms. Our bodies are highly complex organisms. We have a biological and immunological age to accompany our age in years. We have different pre-dispositions to disease, pathogenic exposure, and lifestyle choices. We may have co-morbidities, meaning that our health needs cover more than one presenting condition. From a health perspective, we really are all different.
Back to the global picture, and the average number of practising doctors per thousand of population varies enormously across different countries, from 6.3 in Greece to 0.3 in Indonesia within the OECD countries, with 3.4 as the average of that group. In Sierra Leone, a country I know of a little, the total number of doctors and nurses is just 3% of the most recent sustainable development goals threshold. On average, a Sierra Leonian can expect to live 30 years less than a person from Japan.
So not only are we all physiologically complex and unique individuals, but our access to healthcare can be very different depending on where we live.
So, if we allow ourselves to imagine what the perfect global healthcare ecosystem might look like, what picture would we conjure up? “Providing equitable access to people-centred care” is the goal according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This would surely involve the best trained doctors offering the best diagnostic and therapeutic technologies on the most informed basis. Here we would have early and accurate detection, quantification and prediction of diseases or medical conditions on a personalised patient basis.
Herein are some of the major challenges: optimising training for new doctors; providing clinical decision support tools so that doctors have the basis for making the best possible decisions for the individual patient that presents to them; extending the use of such tools into field based medicine so that expertise and best practice can reach parts of the world where doctors are scarce; engaging patients in wellness and lifestyle advice so as to minimise the incidence or impact of disease; predicting medical risks to patients as part of the preventative medicine agenda.
You will see from the content of this website that we intend to apply the AIBODY technology to developmental programmes t