Risk Checkers for Preventable Diseases

Risk Checkers for Preventable Diseases

A large component of the Australian population falls prey to various common (preventable) diseases which mainly occur as a result of poor lifestyle, obesity and lack of physical exercise. In the interests of that prevention, the Australian government and various hospitals have recently implemented a number of important tests and measures.

Online Risk Checker

An online risk checker has been developed by Healthdirect Australia and The George Institute for Global Health with the aim of helping consumers determine their level of risk for the following diseases for the next five years:

  • Heart Disease: Heart disease being one of the most prevalent forms of disease affecting Australians which can potentially be prevented by the usage of the online risk checker;
  • Kidney disease: Many people having kidney disease are ignorant of the fact they have it and, in turn, it increases the chance of heart attack. The risk calculation for kidney disease is based on the Kidney Health Australia Caring for Australasians with Renal Impairment (KHA-CARI) guidelines;
  • Diabetes: Diabetes, another highly prevalent disease in Australians, is linked to a number of other serious health issues. The diabetes calculator is based on the Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool, which was developed by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute on behalf of the Australian state and territory governments.

This new government-funded online health tool aims to help both the people who are currently at risk and those who are not but who could be, by encouraging them to adopt a better lifestyle.

The users enter information relating to their medical condition, blood tests and medications they take. The risk score (low/medium/high) is given based on the answers and a percentage indicator of the probability of developing such diseases in the next five years is provided. A comparative report is given comparing the risk rates across the wider population. Based on the personalised report, important lifestyle changes (if implemented) increase the chances of a healthy life and minimize the life-threatening risks. Tips are also provided to reduce risk and boost the overall lifestyle of the consumer.

Networked Glucose Meters

The Royal Melbourne Hospital has commenced implementation of networked glucose meters which electronically monitor the glucose levels of patients while they are admitted at the Hospital.

StatStrip meters from Australasian Medical & Scientific LTD were used by the Hospital in 2016 and it now has 155 meters in total. They provide real time information on patients' glucose measures to specialist inpatient diabetes teams. If the patients are monitored electronically during their hospital stay, it ensures better care and improves the health of patients being discharged. It improves blood glucose levels and reduces hospital-acquired infections in patients with diabetes. Health costs relating to diabetes are also reduced as result of this technology.

Online benefit-harm calculator for aspirin bleed risk

A benefit-harm calculator has been developed by researchers from the University of Auckland and Middlemore Hospital (for use in New Zealand only at this stage). The calculator helps with the decision as to whether a patient should take daily aspirin as a preventative against heart disease and stroke. The web-based calculator shows the patient’s bleed risk estimate and the number of cardiovascular diseases aspirin can prevent, in turn benefitting or harming an individual.

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