New Delhi [India], October 13 (ANI/Digpu): During the World Ostomy awareness week, medical experts in India address the challenges faced by Ostamates and how a digitally connected eco-system will be beneficial.
Life after a surgery brings a lot of changes to a patient's lifestyle emotionally, physically and mentally. Modifications to the patient's routine - post-surgery is inevitable and requires a lot of care especially when the surgery involved is with respect to cancers like colorectal or any other bowel cancer.
Surgery for colorectal cancer is very often associated with ostomy surgeries. Colorectal cancer survivors undergo an ostomy surgery during their treatment for the cancer, where creating an external surgical opening for waste to pass through become important.
Post an Ostomy procedure, long-term adjustments become a part of their life and survivors need to avail healthcare facilities to cope better. An upheaval in the mental wellbeing in such cases involves, the patient trying to overcome the stigma around the use of pouch for their waste, low self-esteem, skin inflammation, the kind of clothes to wear, worry about the odour while emptying the pouch, eating the right kind of food, and the need for social support.
Some of the challenges attached to patients who undergo an ostomy surgery are -- lack of awareness about the conditions that require a surgery, precautions that have to be taken post-surgery, lack of information on various care options, lack of availability of the right ostomy pouching system for their condition that can help ease the pain - physically post-surgery.
According to medical professionals, ostomy surgeries are life-saving procedures, and by using the right product for care, recuperating from such kinds of surgeries will be relatively easier for the patient. There has also been a constant innovation in the product technology like the development of mouldable wafers where patients do not have to cut and fit the wafer every time. This leads to better patient experience.
"Often patients find it challenging to access the right form of information on ostomy surgeries and post-surgery care. Additionally, social stigma is an obstacle that patients using stoma face. In order to obtain information, and also to create awareness among the general public, a dire need is the accessibility to the right platform. In such situations, to meet the requirements, a connected ecosystem that is digitally available to the ostomates to get the right form of information is very crucial," said Dr Sandeep Nayak, Director- Department of Surgical Oncology and Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgery, Fortis Hospital- Bannerghatta, Bangalore.
Over the years, it has become extremely crucial for healthcare providers to digitalize their services with the help of analytical tools. Developed for better understanding of ostomates and meeting their requirements; web apps, phone apps are paving the way for the creation of a connected ecosystem. Digitalisation has made it a holistic approach, where a unique platform is created to connect patients with healthcare professionals.
Connecting digitally with patients of ostomy can help healthcare providers to educate them on their conditions, help manage their routine based on their lifestyle, and build a community for them.
"A digitally connected ecosystem is very important for ostomy patients. Apps can be beneficial in providing accurate information to patients, increasing their awareness regarding ostomy. Data from apps can also be used to provide better services to patients by helping them connect with stoma care health persons and doctors without any hassle. With the pandemic on, the patients might try to delay their visit to doctors, so a digital system can enhance the process of connectivity with healthcare services," said Dr Deepak Govil, Senior Consultant and Head of Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and GI Oncology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, while commenting on the use of digital platforms for ostomy patients in India.
"Ostomy surgery is a big step in the life of the patient. It is a situation in which the patient has to live the rest of his life. Hence, educating the patient regarding the use of the stoma pouch is crucial. Despite being counselled by the doctors and surgeons, patients would feel comfortable and also be mentally better prepared if they speak to people who are already using the stoma pouch. Along with the patients, the family members or attendants also require such intense counselling and peer talk. Digitization has by far been an impetus in terms of advancement through a suite of tools to meet requirements of patients-physically, emotionally, mentally," mentioned Dr Avanish Saklani, Associate Professor, Robotic Colorectal Surgery, TATA Memorial Center, Mumbai.
It is very crucial for making life of ostomates easier by providing correct information at the right time. These areas of work are still at infancy in India. It is imperative for caregivers to raise the standard of care, elevate patient experience, enhance clinical experience, create a patient retention program and assist patients on their day to day challenges by providing assistance. According to
Digital tools are an easy to understand process. Apps by medical technology companies can help provide guidance on various processes- like process of surgery, prerequisites to surgeries, and in-depth information on respective surgeries like colostomy, ileostomy.
Constantly reinventing medical technology tools is the need of the hour. Collecting the patient data and giving constructive responses to their queries can help patient arrive at a decision for their bodies and life. Digital revolution has changed the way patients look at accessibility to relevant information related to their condition. It is imperative for them to be well informed and aware about their situations and manage their life.
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