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Can digital health help add 45 billions years of high quality life to the planet?

Is it really possible to add 45 billion extra years of higher-quality life to everyone on the planet? With digital health technology - we think it is.

McKinsey Health Institute recently posited that with some elbow grease - and some major systemic overhauls - it would be possible to add at least six years of higher-quality life, or in more dramatic terms, 45 billion extra years of higher-quality life to everyone on the planet.

This is no easy feat.

But then, nothing ever should be when it comes to quality of life, right?

We certainly share the sentiment, here at Curve, that anything is possible, and for us the key determinant in making the necessary changes to achieve such drastic outcomes lies in the use of digital health technology.

What we’ve already overcome in human health - and how far we have to go

Before you look forward it’s always worth looking back to note how far you’ve already come.

And the story of human health over the last several hundred years is a pretty miraculous one. 

Between 1800 and 2017, average global life expectancy more than doubled, from 30 years to 73 year - meaning that the innovations and advancements in medicine and science have already more than done their job.

There’s one small catch though, while we’re living longer than ever, we aren’t necessarily healthier than we’ve ever been.

According to the McKinsey Health Institute, “on average, people spend about 50 percent of their lives in less than-good health, including 12 percent in poor health”.

In higher income countries, chronic conditions now afflict growing numbers of people for a significant portion of their lives.

And of course, health inequity remains a major problem. Access to suitable health services and good outcomes for patients vary greatly from country to country and across gender, wealth, and other demographic metrics.

How can digital health add 45 billion extra years?

So how did McKinsey Health Institute come to this incredible number - and why do we think digital health will play a critical role in making it happen?

According to the report, the Institute believes that  tremendous ‘untapped potential exists in the systematic, equitable, and extensive application of existing knowledge’.

For us, that right there is the kicker - because that’s what we believe digital health is all about. 

The basis of the entire Curve vision is the belief that amazing, life-changing research and clinical practices can be proliferated and shared across the globe, at speed and scale, in a way that’s never been seen before - but that this is only possible if we leverage digital health technology to make it so.

And as the report so rightly points out, it’s certainly been shown that innovative solutions can be rolled out at previously unimagined speeds and levels - COVID-19 proved that with the right resources and collaborations in place, anything is possible in health. 

And we’d like to believe that with the right application, digital health can lead to the same kind of changes.

The digital health difference

We believe that there are an enormous number of research projects and clinical practices that are trapped inside institutes and organisations without a way to impact the thousands of people - or even millions - that they could be helping. 

With access to digital technology so pervasive now, with the right platform or application, almost any health solution can be delivered in a form that would enable hugely increased levels of access and drive incredible outcomes for the end users. 

Going a step further, the data collection that digital health technology enables opens up even more doors for understanding and synthesising the problems and opportunities that we don’t know we don’t know yet.

The ultimate work-in-progress 

We talk about this as if it’s a small feat to accomplish - but of course it’s not. It’s an ongoing work-in-progress that we’re proud to be a part of. 

As McKinsey rightly notes, ‘dramatically improving our health requires an ecosystem approach— exchanging ideas, aligning around standards, working across multiple stakeholder silos.’

If we can be just one of the cogs in the machine at large that’s helping to make a difference, while of course continuing on our own journey to impact 1 billion lives, then we’re confident we’re doing our part and are proud to be serving the world as a purpose-led, impact-first, digital health technology company.

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