On May 18, 2016, I participated in the second annual global summit which focused on the discussion on Nutrition, Wellness and Digital Health. The summit was hosted by Gallup at The Gallup Building in Washington DC and got together many professionals, doctors, students and entrepreneurs of the health industry.

Wellness and health sector are not directly related to my area of work but the reason why I participated in the summit was my interest in the topics of well being and digital health which basically affects us all and everyone should pay more attention to it then they currently do. I met some amazing professionals, who are changing the face of the health industry and at the same time, I also learned so many new things and facts about this industry.

The agenda of the conference was very nicely designed to cover variety of topics by different speakers to bring different viewpoint. The agenda started with explaining the meaning of Wellbeing.

Meaning of Wellbeing – The opening speaker started his talk by explaining the meaning of wellbeing. He said its not just about being physically healthy, it means much more than that, it is a feeling that you have when you have the following 5 factors:

  • A Purpose
  • Financial Wellbeing
  • Social Wellbeing
  • Community Wellbeing
  • Physical Wellbeing

They paid a lot of attention to the fact that it is not just physical health, eating habits and exercising but the overall wellbeing includes being socially accepted, involvement within the community, financial stability and spiritual wellbeing.

Health Care Industry and its Shortcomings. – I never realized the fact that there are far too many patients than doctors at any given point of time anywhere in the world. Also, its insane, the amount of money that is spent in the health care industry but the outcomes are not even close to the financial investment. Some of the statistics were shocking where it showed that the average time to see a doctor in Boston, U.S. could be 66 days from the day you call to make an appointment to the day you meet with the doctor. This shows the challenge of demand being extremely high than the capacity in the health care sector.  Another challange is that the health care system in the United States is very expensive and not affordable by many, and US is a developed country, we also talked about many developing countries and their challenges to address the needs of the patients.

Use of Technology to empower health care Industry – Digital health is becoming very popular and is transforming the health care systems by making it more efficient in different ways. For instance, reducing the time spent on average with a doctor, for example, an e-encounter with a Physician can save half of the time spent by the patient with the doctors on a physical one to one appointment. This process increases the productivity of the doctors/ hospitals and save the cost overall for the patient. Another example is keeping digital records for patient’s history makes the process so much easier.

With tremendous advancement in the technology and growing interest in personal health, people will have the capacity to do most clinical / laboratory tests at home by themselves by 2050, it does not mean they will no more need to consult doctors but it just means they would reduce the time & money spent to get to the final outcome with the doctors.

The Goal of the Health Care System – One of the key note speakers talked about the overall goal of the health care system to address the current and growing needs. Following were the focus areas:

  • Stop People to become Patients – Prevention is better than cure
  • Value over Volume – Focusing on delivering quality health care.
  • Building more cost effective Health care Systems
  • Use of technology to address the challenges.

In the end, I had a great learning experience at the summit and it made me think differently about our health care systems and changed my understanding of wellbeing.