Health is the most important element we have as capital and thanks to having a healthy organism and well-being, we can have longer life and, therefore, be able to enjoy loved ones more, contribute more to society and create a legacy. According to the World Health Organization, a health system can be defined as “the sum of all organizations, institutions and resources whose main objective is to improve health and points out that the final, basic or intrinsic objectives of health systems are:
Improving the health of the population
Providing adequate treatment to users of health services
Ensuring financial security in health
According to Lalonde (1974), the determinants of health are the set of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors, which determine the environment in which the inhabitants develop, and this has an impact on the health of the individual and the entire population. Among the biological factors are those related to physical and mental health, regarding human biology, age of individuals, genetic inheritance, chronic-degenerative diseases, genetic disorders, malformations among others that lie in human biology. Then we have the factors related to lifestyle where it refers to the decision making of the individual regarding their health, which has control of what is consumed, the physical activities they perform, their beliefs, customs among other things, which affect health. Depending on the individual’s lifestyle decisions, it could have a positive or negative impact, putting health at risk.
These two main factors involved in an individual’s health status are genetic characteristics and lifestyle. Genetic characteristics are incorporated within the non-modifiable risk factors in an individual, however, lifestyle includes habits such as sedentary lifestyle and inadequate nutrition, which are in the end, factors that determine many of the chronic non-communicable diseases that we face today. Additionally, the factors of the care service include the vast health care system, the access of the population, its quality, the financing of the services that serve individuals, available medicines, medical units, in short, the complete public and / or private system, access, effectiveness and speed.
Globalization and urbanization, in addition to chronic diseases, are affecting the income level of both developed and developing countries, this impact has been evaluated as disability-adjusted life years. In recent years there have been important changes in the conception of human health and disease from a disease model to a health model. For just over 20 years, chronic non-communicable diseases have occupied the first places as causes of general death: heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus, being in first, second and ninth place respectively (WHO, 2020).
Many of us are involved in deficient eating habits, a sedentary life and with a genetic inheritance that, in the accumulated, tends to generate chronic-degenerative diseases that avoid achieving that much aspirated legacy that, as humanity, and personally, we want to reach. On the other hand, the insurance sector, focused on the use of private systems, has been in a comfort zone to generate attractive schemes for the population to attract more insured and positively impact various countries, and even more, to generate advanced processes of prevention, diagnosis and verticalization of care as we can see even in some Latin American countries.
While the goal is to seek greater investment in health, the question I will need to help answer to justify this aspirational element is: Will there be a reward for investing in health programs and policies? Up to what level or scheme could such an investment be justified? The challenge is not easy since, given the little evidence and research, disaggregated data, and a health system almost in intensive care, efforts may be minimal, but even in the face of this possibility, my personal challenge has been to collaborate for a better health system, perhaps no longer for me, but for the following generations.
A large part of the impact of NCDs could have been avoided by carrying out health prevention activities such as the promotion of physical activation since 57.9% of the population aged 18 and over does not perform any sport or physical exercise in their leisure time, a proportion that has not changed significantly since 2013. Similarly, it is evident that one of the main problems facing the world is the crisis that occurs in health institutions regarding shortages of medicines or long waiting times for care, therefore, having knowledge of what is happening in our environment can help raise awareness about diseases and seek evidence-based solutions, since only a few countries are investing heavily in health, and several have been left behind as shown in the graph below.
OECD, 2022. Own elaboration.
We can take examples of policies that are in the process of implementation, such as the strategy of the Noncommunicable diseases (NDC) prevention and control program by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2013) where four strategic lines are established for the prevention of these diseases in line with 25 indicators and the 9 targets contained in the WHO global comprehensive surveillance framework. which are:
Considering the effects of prevention and promotion on health, companies are susceptible to diseases generated by suffering from strategies for the health of employees causing absenteeism, presenteeism, poor work performance and loss of productivity.
Health and well-being, or lack thereof, depend largely on the characteristics, including urban and rural environmental influences, of the socio-economic and cultural environment in which the process takes place. Environmental factors such as climate, geographical conditions and the technology used can also be decisive. The relationship and complementarity, for example, in a small family business with close friends and relatives creates reactions very different from those of a huge industrial plant with competitive strangers. Economic factors greatly modify individual and group reactions because, among other things, adequate economic resources make it possible to prevent or compensate for many potentially negative effects. Similarly, cultural factors strongly condition attitudes towards management, co-workers, subordinates and all other aspects of the work environment and the work itself. They also influence female and male roles and relationships at work and outside it, the age of entry into working life and whether conditions are passively accepted as they are or whether efforts to improve them are actively pursued.
The final, basic, and intrinsic objectives of health systems is to improve the health of the population, provide adequate treatment to users of health services and ensure financial security in health.
Health is the set of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors, which determine the environment in which the inhabitants develop. The factors that intervene in the state of health of an individual are the genetic characteristics and lifestyle which includes habits such as sedentary lifestyle and inadequate nutrition, which are in the end, factors that determine many of the chronic non-communicable diseases that we face today.
In recent years there have been important changes in the conception of human health and disease from a disease model to a health model. At the global level, a very relevant concept has been defined in terms of knowing and applying different health models focused on different organizational organizations mainly, this concept is known as health promotion, which has been used as a strategy to make various approaches related to the formulation of healthy public policies, interventions aimed at people and communities, and for the proposal and conduct of health research.
On the other hand, economic growth leads populations to live better, longer lives and good health. Healthier people who live longer have greater incentives to invest in developing their skills, because they expect to reap the benefits of such investments over longer periods. Higher life expectancy encourages greater investments in human capital, which in turn accelerates per capita income. Improved health has not been a mere byproduct of growth; instead, it has fostered growth.
Recently, the importance of the study of the relationship between health and various variables influenced by multiple factors influenced by work, quality, scientific and technological development, competitiveness, performance, quality systems and human resources, all being relevant elements within the resource-based vision, has been rediscovered in many countries. Health care is a shared responsibility, so actions aimed at promoting healthy environments for the individual, to establish a broad and positive concept of health. In addition, economics can support decision-making at different levels and in general, occupational safety and health policies are well justified on economic grounds.
Finally, from the point of view of prevention, going to the realization of detection tests increases the chances of early detection of health problems, which allows adequate care with fewer complications.
There are several investigations that support that the concept of Health 4.0 can help minimize the lag that exists in health systems, which consists of intelligent elements, digitalization, machine learning and use of mHealth in the population having interesting results in research methods.
However, there is still a long way to go in the creation and implementation of intelligent systems that allow timely and even predictive diagnosis through advanced mathematical models based on artificial intelligence that help clinical experts in decision-making and involve the population. We see an interesting future in the use of devices increasingly closer to patients collaborating with the main objective of placing the patient at the center of the health environment. After all, that the 4 P’s of health (Prediction, Prevention, Participation and Personalization) are linked in the search for better health for the population.
Lalonde, M. (1974). A new perspective on the Health of Canadiens. Office of the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare.
WHO, World Health Organization. (2013). Plan de acción para la prevención y el control de las enfermedades no transmisibles en las Americas 2013-2019.
WHO, World Health Organization. (2020). The top 10 causes of death.
Have a question for Sergio Arturo Domínguez?
Sergio Arturo Domínguez
Head, Interventional Radiology & Cardiology Latin America
Sergio has worked in a medical device company (Siemens Healthineers) since 2004, mainly as a business manager in different fields (Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, and Surgery), and now, he is the head of Latin America for Cardiovascular and Interventional radiology solutions and as an ambassador of the Stroke clinical conditions.
He has done more than 150 presentations on medical devices, cardiovascular solutions, artificial intelligence, and robotics in medicine.
Sergio is the Vice-president of training in the Mexican pharmaceutical chamber in the medical device sector (CANIFARMA).
Sergio holds a Robotic Engineering degree and an MBA.
He has several diplomas in marketing, medical devices, management, and economics and an ongoing Ph.D.
He speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish.
He has been awarded since he was a child more than 100 times in several fields like math, chemistry, physics, history, oratory, and business management, among others.
Sergio’s hobbies are producing music, running, and scuba diving.