Digital health encompasses a vast set of scientific concepts and technologies. It combines digital technologies, networking, connectivity, and increasing computing power, with big data and health information systems.
It means the use of digital technologies to improve health, healthcare, and living conditions. Digital tools vastly enhance diagnoses and patient outcomes. They also have multiple uses, ranging from improving personal fitness to building more robust national health systems. They are applied in diagnosis, treatment, and care management and delivery.
Digital health helps users practice lifestyle medicine, such as improving fitness, with just a smartphone and an app. It also offers patients ways to better monitor and manage their lives.
The global digital health market is growing, buoyed by the introduction of digital technologies that have many healthcare applications. The following are some examples of such technologies:
Telehealth technology helps patients in remote locations to access quality healthcare. Telehealth also benefits healthcare providers as outpatient care is less expensive than inpatient care.
The use of AI has improved many areas in healthcare, especially imaging technology. AI helps improve processes, determines effective pharmaceutical compositions, lowers expenses, prevents identity theft, etc.
The healthcare industry uses connected wearables and data collection via IMT in innovative ways, especially in preventative medicine. Wearables and apps now help facilitate virtual clinical trials that enable patients to participate from anywhere.
AR already helps doctors learn complex procedures, such as heart surgery. It also helps them perform the actual procedures by using 3D mapping and imagery.
AR and VR are also used to help retrieve the memories of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, by letting them experience an important time or stimulus from the past.
A digital twin, the virtual replica of a physical object or system, offers a safe way to test procedures or treatments by experimenting on virtual versions of patients or devices.
Healthcare providers need to provide personalized clinical guidance to patients who visit any facility or physician across the country. Blockchain technology can be used to record, store, and classify patient data, without fear of security breaches.
US health spending is expected to reach around $6.0 trillion by 2027. Funding in the digital health arena increased from US$1.2 billion in 2010 to US$ 14.6 billion in 2018.
Major tech companies, such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, are entering the arena with innovative products to exploit this opportunity.
Some of the other companies that develop wearables are Proteus Digital Health, Neurotech, Augmedix, Atlas Tracking, Fitbit, and Garmin. Examples of companies that develop other diverse products and apps are AdhereTech, Mediktor, Sopris Health, FundamentalVR, RDMD, 98point6, VitaScan, etc.
The digital health market will see further growth, as well as the following changes in the future:
Digital health is of immense help in achieving the healthcare industry’s myriad, complex and varied aims. In future, digital health tech will flourish further, driven by user demands, compliance requirements, and easily distinguishable value propositions.