Self care, in the context of health, is an action that individuals take for themselves in order to maintain and improve their health. But it’s only since the emergence of technology that self care has become achievable.
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Thanks to website and apps people can find the necessary information on different medical conditions to be able to self-care, and this in turn, could save the NHS and GPs valuable time.
Matteo Berlucchi, CEO and Co-founder of Your.MD, an app which allows people to check their symptoms, explained the importance of self care to Express.co.uk.
He said: “Self-care is the biggest opportunity in healthcare. It never took off because of a fundamental blocker: people didn’t know how to self-care so they ended up to the doctor to be told how to self-care – not very efficient!
“Thanks to digital healthtech it is now increasingly possible and easier to find the necessary information to be able to self-care if and when appropriate without having to consult with a medical professional.”
According to an analysis carried out in 2007, out of 57 million GP visits, 88 percent were for conditions judged suitable for self care and, according to Matteo, thus potentially transferable to another service like Your.MD.
“The opportunity is enormous,” said Matteo. “It could be the single biggest thing that can be done to improve healthcare across the board.”
So what conditions can self care help to identify?
The top 10 self care conditions account for 75 percent of visits to a GP and are all identifiable with new digital health tech tools.
These conditions are:
Back pain 8.4
Heartburn and indigestion 6.8
Nasal Congestion 5.3
Sprains and Strains 2.2
Matteo explained: “A tool like Your.MD can help unlock self-care. No one enjoys waiting a couple of weeks to see a GP when the alternative could be to get safe and personalised information via an app free of charge and with no wait!
“We call this pre-primary care, the healthcare activities that a person can do without the direct intervention of a medical professional.
“Your.MD can also detect situations that require urgent attention and the app recommends people to seek medical advice based on the symptoms they have reported.
“This could be useful in prompting people who tend to delay going to see a doctor because their symptoms may not cause them pain or discomfort.”
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But is there anything that can go wrong with self care?
Self-care is arguably the safest type of care, said Matteo, as it deals with non-urgent and non-critical situations.
It’s much harder for something to go wrong with acne than with more serious conditions.
Matteo added: “Having said that, a utility like Your.MD must be able to operate in the safest possible way as a headache could be a sign of something very serious and as such an app used to identify self careable situations must also identify emergency and urgent situations accurately.
“Our service has very strict safety guidelines and is heavily and continuously tested against all ‘red flags’ and potentially dangerous situations to make sure that users are never put in a risky situation.”
With all this in mind, Your.MD’s primary goal is to unlock self care.
Matteo said: “This has been the dream of every health service worldwide because the gap between demand and supply will never be met (and it’s getting worse).
“Pre-primary care is a new, untapped opportunity for healthcare to create a new step in the health journey where the user (patient) takes on the responsibility and the burden of the actions they take.”
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