Connect with us

Lifestyle

Dr. Mona Jhaveri Explains The Future of Telemedicine: Benefits, Challenges, and Growth Potential

mm

Published

on

The scourge of cancer continues to affect people in the United States, with an estimated 19 million new diagnoses in 2022 alone. Over the past century, countless people have believed that medical research would help drive the search for new treatments and the hope for an eventual cure for cancer. And while this belief does hold some truth, there has been a renewed focus on the role of health technology in discovering treatments and eventual cures. 

One of the most significant tech moves in the healthcare space — particularly in the last few years — has been telemedicine. Its efficacy and popularity ballooned during the pandemic, with telehealth encounters growing over 700% in the first three months. 

Now, there is growing support for the benefits of telemedicine for those experiencing a cancer diagnosis as well. Dr. Mona Jhaveri, founder and director of Music Beats Cancer, a non-profit cancer research funding organization, believes the current labyrinthian process that patients must undergo to receive a referral, see a doctor, and have their prescriptions filled is one that is long overdue for change. 

“With telemedicine, it’s easier than ever to get access to help and medications,” Dr. Jhaveri explains. “Telemedicine has made the entire process faster and more affordable for millions of people.”

The benefits of telemedicine 

When one receives a new cancer diagnosis, time is often of the essence. Depending on what stage they may be experiencing — and if the cancer has spread — patients may only have a matter of days or weeks to arrange comprehensive care and prescription delivery, but the referral and scheduling process can be frustratingly complex and time-consuming. In addition, waiting weeks to see a specialist is something most cancer patients cannot afford. 

With telemedicine, patients can gain faster and more efficient access to the referrals and specialists they need, especially those living in rural or remote areas. Through teleconferencing, patients do not need to leave their homes in order to speak to doctors, attend appointments, or receive referrals. Instead, the patient’s team of specialists can often be one click away, saving precious time and upwards of thousands of dollars over the course of one’s cancer treatment. 

In a recent study, it was shown that the average telemedicine visit saves patients between $147 to $186 per incident. Telemedicine also provides patients with significant savings in regard to travel costs, medical visit expenses, and lost income from having to miss work. 

According to Dr. Jhaveri, telemedicine is also remarkably beneficial for pharmaceutical services. “While prescription deliveries have been a standard in cancer care for some time,” she says, “advances in telemedicine have allowed physicians to better virtually monitor progress and quickly change prescriptions that may not be effective for a patient.” She adds that, with telemedicine, pharmacists can also take a larger role on a patient’s cancer care team, gaining virtual access to patients in order to answer questions and monitor their use of medications. 

Dr. Jhaveri and Music Beats Cancer recently joined forces with TeleMedicX to raise funds for their HIPPA-compliant telemedicine platform VirtualCliniX, with the aim to provide faster access referrals for cancer patients on the islands of Hawaii. Because many areas of Hawaii are remote, the capabilities of telemedicine are especially welcomed. With Music Beats Cancer, Dr. Jhaveri has been able to find potential solutions to funding issues for telemedicine technologies like what TeleMedicX is offering to the islands’ residents. 

“For cancer patients living far from state-of-the-art medical hubs, locating and transferring medical records to healthcare specialists is daunting, so half of all patients simply discontinue the care they need,” Dr. Jhaveri stated in a recent press release about Music Beats Cancer’s partnership.  

For patients with cancer, healing cannot possibly come without access. This is the cause Music Beats Cancer is hoping to shed light on. 

Breaking through the funding bottleneck

Though telemedicine lends itself to cost savings in the long run, there is an upfront cost for providers who wish to implement the technology for their patients — one of the major hurdles that telemedicine implementation must overcome. Because the widespread use of telemedicine is still in its relative infancy, insurance companies have been slow to adapt their coverage policies, while some have even rolled back coverage after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Jhaveri is no stranger to having run into funding bottlenecks, herself. In fact, those bottlenecks are the entire reason why she first founded Music Beats Cancer. 

As Dr. Jhaveri told Entrepreneur’s Break, “Before I started a crowdfunding charity, I launched a biotech to produce a cure for ovarian cancer. A funding bottleneck stood between academic research and real-world innovation, and I experienced it first-hand,” she says. “I knew we faced a systemic problem in funding the war on cancer, and everyone in the industry knew it as well. I had a gut feeling things would change if the public became aware.

The public became acutely aware of the life-saving impact telemedicine had during the pandemic. Now that its benefits have been so heavily publicized, Dr. Jhaveri is hopeful that funding efforts will be well-received — especially for cancer patients who stand to most benefit from the time and money savings that telemedicine provides. 

Growth potential

Even though the pandemic has waned, those in the cancer treatment space have continued to recognize and champion the benefits of continued telemedicine use. Dr. Jhaveri began Music Beats Cancer as a way to increase cancer treatment accessibility and transform funding, and the incredible growth potential of telemedicine for cancer care is a core focus of hers going into 2024. 

“It’s going to be a field that expands and will have its place in medicine,” Dr. Jhaveri explains. “It has been especially fruitful in areas where people are underserved or for people at or below the poverty line.” 

Indeed, poverty has been shown to be a risk factor for certain cancers, making accessible and affordable access to one’s medical team and prescriptions even more important. 

Music Beats Cancer has made tremendous strides in platforming innovation, revolutionizing cancer screening, and raising awareness. Those who are fighting cancer, be they patients or providers, cannot afford to weather the funding gaps that stand in the way of innovation. Through strategic partnerships and continued support from independent music artists, Dr. Jhaveri and Music Beats Cancer will continue to champion and fund technology that can truly enhance access to treatment and the betterment of the quality of life for cancer patients.

Rosario is from New York and has worked with leading companies like Microsoft as a copy-writer in the past. Now he spends his time writing for readers of BigtimeDaily.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lifestyle

The Role of Medicine in Achieving and Sustaining a Healthy Body Mass

mm

Published

on

 

The CDC’s latest numbers classify approximately 42 percent of Americans as obese, and over two-thirds of American adults qualify as either obese or overweight. Living with excess weight heightens people’s risk for debilitating and chronic but otherwise preventable conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

With new weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy on the rise, many are wondering if these medications live up to their hype and can even help end the obesity epidemic. Sergio Padron, founder and CEO of online healthcare and weight-loss support company MD Exam, believes they can — up to a point.

“It’s important to approach these medications with a thorough understanding of what they can and can’t do,” Padron says. “Magic pills for weight loss don’t exist.”

The importance of achieving a healthy body mass

According to Padron, achieving and sustaining a healthy body mass is key to good health. To obtain your body mass index (BMI), online calculators like this one from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ask for your height and weight, run them through the standard formula, and generate your score. The last step is to find this number in the standardized ranges considered underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

“Many healthcare professionals use the body mass index (BMI) for a quick approximation of most people’s health,” he explains. “All you need is the patient’s weight and height, and you can calculate this number.”

There are exceptions, however. “In particular, bodybuilders and other athletes can generate results that make it seem like they aren’t healthy, when in fact they’re in excellent condition,” Padron explains. “That’s because BMI doesn’t consider muscle mass, and muscle is more dense than fat. In addition, BMI doesn’t account for visceral fat being more dangerous than fat deposits elsewhere in the body.”

That’s why Padron cautions people not to make snap judgments based on BMI alone and to seek a more comprehensive view from healthcare professionals. “Factors like body composition, blood markers, and lifestyle need to be considered,” he explains, “which is one of the many reasons why we only offer individualized care at MD Exam.”

If your BMI falls in the overweight or obese categories, then it’s time to make a change. “Unfortunately, excess body weight means you could be developing major health problems that you otherwise wouldn’t,” Padron says. “Being overweight has also been associated with depression. In my experience, it can have a negative impact on self-esteem and even lead to the development of eating disorders.”

Luckily, groundbreaking new drugs have become available to help people recover their quality of life.

How Ozempic and Wegovy can help

According to Padron, pharmaceutical solutions like Ozempic and Wegovy can help most people achieve and sustain a healthy body mass. These medications reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness, thereby enabling people to regulate their consumption better.

“One of the most important things our patients report is that they’re no longer tormented by cravings,” Padron says. “They find it easier to avoid overeating in the first place.”

In addition, Ozempic and Wegovy have been shown to decrease visceral fat — the dangerous kind of fat deposits. “The idea is to optimize health and well-being, not just lose weight,” Padron says. “We want to make sure you lose the right pounds. When you lose visceral fat and keep muscle, you are heading in the right direction and your body composition improves.”

In some rare cases, however, Ozempic and Wegovy aren’t effective. “Luckily, other interventions can be effective in those cases, such as Tirzepatide or classic weight-loss drugs,” Padron says.

Yet Padron emphasizes that weight-loss drugs alone are insufficient to achieve and sustain a healthy body mass.

Personalized, comprehensive support

“Just taking a pill won’t make pounds disappear,” Padron says. “To lose weight, it’s necessary to get real about your lifestyle and actually change your habits. If you haven’t been exercising, for instance, then it’s time to start getting up a little earlier and going for a morning walk. If you haven’t been eating well, then it’s time to stop buying soda and junk food.”

Easier said than done? “We know it’s hard,” Padron says. “That’s why our program takes support seriously. Our medical staff works with patients one-on-one to develop treatment plans that will work for them. We also provide coaching and connect patients to each other for mutual support and accountability. MD Exam is a community. People make friends for life on our platform.”

Lose weight, feel great

Obtaining a healthy body mass often leads to increased energy levels, improved mobility, and reduced joint pain. It can also help control chronic conditions like high blood pressure and sleep apnea, as well as forestall the development of preventable diseases. If that isn’t already enough, it can also boost patients’ self-confidence and mental health.

“Our patients experience an incredible feeling of accomplishment and empowerment,” Padron says. “Losing weight can be truly transformative. I can’t tell you how many people have told me their whole outlook on life has become more positive.”

For Padron, helping people lose weight is its own reward. “I love watching people shed their depression and come back to life,” he says. “This is the most rewarding work I can imagine.”

Continue Reading

Trending