This article was written by our colleague Simone Singh, Senior Associate, Client Experience
So, what exactly is digital health?
Digital health, also known as digital healthcare, is the intersection between technology and healthcare. These technologies are designed to provide patients with integrated healthcare systems to manage all aspects of health and wellness with the goal of saving time and boosting accuracy while being cost efficient. These innovative solutions require cross-collaboration across areas like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data aggregation.
How can digital health technologies transform healthcare?
You may not know it, but the digital health revolution is already underway! During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world saw an increase in services like telehealth – one of the first steps towards digitizing the patient experience. Now, these technologies are going one step further to bridge gaps and improve healthcare as we know it.
In fact, we’re already seeing the use of AI in healthcare, recent advances in smartphone apps have successfully harnessed the power of technology to track the spread of viruses and help doctors diagnose asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.
We also see rising capitalization of data aggregation infrastructure, the systematic method of collecting and summarizing large quantities of information, which bridges the information gaps that are often seen in healthcare. This means that future care can be more personalized and effective for the unique needs of each patient.
What does this mean for patients?
This means that the possibilities for building a patient-centric ecosystem are endless. With this, one clear advantage of digital solutions is the potential to build a more inclusive healthcare system for all by increasing access.
Think about it: in our modern world, nearly every group is impacted by technology. Using virtual platforms and mobile applications can help everyday patients when in-person options are out of reach. However, this brings profound breakthroughs for those living in rural areas, those with disabilities, or other barriers to health management because it can completely transform their unique patient experience.
While it may not seem like it, even the use of data aggregation can increase access. Tracking health data can help health practitioners build personalized treatment plans while also helping patients share reliable information that can get them the care that they need.
These advances also work to drive down one of the biggest barriers to healthcare access: cost. As these solutions become ingrained in the standard of care, we will see relief in high costs and barriers across different socio-economic groups, expanding affordability to untapped communities in need.
Of course, there are still some obvious limitations to the digital revolution. The patient population will need to be equipped with regular access to Wi-Fi and compatible devices. Also, both physicians and patients must have the digital literacy skills required to work together in a virtual capacity. However, acknowledging these limitations is a proactive step in resolution.
Our future looks bright, and we can feel optimistic with this rise of innovative problem solving as digital health solutions may very well transform the healthcare system for both patients and healthcare workers as we know it.
TELL US: How do you think digital health technology will increase access for patients and healthcare providers?