Babylon: Rethinking the healthcare system

Babylon Health Drives the Move to Proactive Healthcare in a Post-Covid World

Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon Health, wrote a piece for the UK’s Sunday Telegraph to advocate the fundamental belief behind Babylon. It argues that the Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated it is time to rethink the way we organise and deliver healthcare globally, and to move from reactive sick care to proactive healthcare. The below is an excerpt from the article which is available here in full.

 

“The Covid pandemic showed us that we cannot rely on waiting for people to get sick and then deal with their emergencies. Instead, we need to spend our efforts on preventing those crises and emergencies from happening.”

 

Ali Parsa, Founder & CEO of Babylon

COVID-19 has highlighted the need for proactive care

There was a time when cars only went to the garage if they broke down. But now we have early-warning sensors in our cars and service them every year, to catch problems. It seems obvious to take simple, preventive action to maintain our machines. Yet for some reason, we don't do the same with the most valuable assets we have, our lives.

Healthcare is set up to fix people when things have already gone wrong, and it's not working. The Covid pandemic showed us that we cannot rely on waiting for people to get sick and then deal with their emergencies. Instead, we need to spend our efforts on preventing those crises and emergencies from happening.

Implementing Proactive Healthcare Today

During the pandemic, Babylon has built a ‘Covid-19 Care Assistant’ that can give information and reassurance to the large number of patients who need it, and find the much smaller group of patients who need to speak to a doctor 24/7, have their recovery monitored, and be provided with a care plan. This can help with huge groups of people and, most importantly, allows front-line staff to help a much greater number of people, all while making sure that people get the care they need.

 

Important lessons for other health “crises”

For chronic diseases such as for example asthma or diabetes, the common response is to wait for the patient to hit an emergency and then "cure" them. Instead, we should focus on proactive testing, care planning, monitoring and, when necessary, early intensive intervention.

A change of thinking like this could have a profound impact. The benefits are twofold: for society, better health equals better quality of life. For healthcare providers, a healthier society reduces demand. Less demand means better care for those that really need it. It could make healthcare more affordable and accessible to people everywhere.

We need a system change in priorities

New discoveries in quantum computing, AI, mixed reality, robotics, organ reconstruction, genetic engeineering and synthetic biology will help us shape new possibilities hitherto unimaginable. But science and technology by itself won't transform healthcare. What is required is a systemic change in priorities. Covid-19 will pass but the lesson of it is that the healthcare services of the world need to evolve. We have done it with our cars. We can do it with our lives. 

Read the full article here.