With fairly recent technological advancements, something called the “digital health revolution” has come knocking on our doors, wanting to move into our lives. This phenomenon is only one of many that make the 21st century an incredibly exciting time.
Digital health can be described as a concurrence of genomic and digital revolutions with healthcare, health, living and society. We can use it to better track, improve and manage our and our family’s health. It helps with making life improvements and increasing productiveness by reducing healthcare costs and inefficiencies in its delivery, improving its quality and access by making medicine more precise and personalized.
What are the essential elements of digital health? Software sensing technologies, hardware sensors, microprocessors, and wireless devices, social networking, the Internet, and health information technology. The public opinion on this kind of healthcare revolution is divided, with those who feel opportunistic, and others that potentiate all the problems that it might bring. However, these are the facts: the population is aging, budget constraints are growing, and ill health is more lifestyle-related.
Healthcare digitization is meant to promote positive health-related behavior changes. This is easier to achieve with web portals that enable us to order prescriptions, devices that monitor patients remotely, and mobile apps that reward people for performing beneficial behaviors. If you enter the Google Play and App Store, you will find countless fitness and health apps that can help you with your strength training, aerobic, yoga routine, even workout motivation, as well as nutrition plans. By combining smartphone technology with health care, people will find different types of services available. These services will be based on personal need, efficiency, effectiveness, and convenience. We will certainly be in a better position to address modern life’s social and medical problems – diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and various mental health issues.
If you have trained hard and managed to reach your fitness goals, share them with the world via the EyeEm application, and you can even earn some money. What about an app that will help vulnerable and elderly people maintain an independent home life by enabling them to access basic support services? For example, by simply wearing an iWatch, one can use it as an activity tracker, a workout tracker, and as a health tool. With some help of third party apps, one can set it up to send a summary of weekly activity, and offer suggestions on stepping up one’s personal health game. At first, wearable devices might seem tricky to use and make you feel skeptical towards this kind of technology, but it has made a big boom in the mobile industry.
Connectivity plays a major role in the future of digital health, the future which still seems a bit problematic and vague. The first problem is initial patient connection. Digital health declares to be all about disease management, while those working on their brand seem more into the modern perspective of the muscular runner and the lines of fashion.
The second one is the disconnect between the patient and the health care provider. Engaging and motivating patients is a difficult challenge, any health care professional will confirm. It is displaced by the practical aspects of care like simple disease management and a physical exam. The disconnect is broadened because the majority of HCP-s do not even understand the concept of digital health or use digital health technology. They do not understand it or regard it as an important and powerful tool because they do not live in the context of digital health.
The technology used by digital healthcare is used to support sustainable healthcare systems, even though the market is still relatively new and not as supportive to the idea of digital healthcare. The leadership in this marketplace is predicted to come from the high street, the general public, and the third sector. The demand for health and care services undoubtedly grows, thus new and unconventional healthcare approaches will be more widely accepted.
It is necessary to understand the realities and myths about what patients want from the digitalization of healthcare, so healthcare organizations could know where to head out further. These organizations are about to begin their journey on the third wave of digitalization, and now is the moment for the entire healthcare industry to go all in on digital strategies. Healthcare digitalization will certainly promote positive health-related behavior changes. However, whether this revolution will take place and be carried out its entirety depends on how it will push through in the marketplace.
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.