Digital Themes

Digital Health Technology

What is digital health technology?

Digital health technology refers to the use of health identifiers, telehealth, electronic prescriptions, precision medicine, electronic health records, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile apps, sensors, medical robotics, advanced prosthetics, virtual and augmented reality, and remote devices to improve health equity, expand healthcare access, improve health outcomes, and make the healthcare system more efficient. Healthcare professionals use digital health technology to produce and obtain health insights that provide secure, reliable, and more affordable care services. This technology includes predictive analytics, wearables, connected devices, and biotechnology. 
Digital health encompasses using methods and tools, like software and hardware, that benefit patient health and facilitate informed decisions on self-care. Related software and online platforms are used as diagnostic and at-home monitoring tools that physicians can apply in conjunction with medicine, biologics, and other devices.

Stakeholders in digital health technology include technology distributors, software developers, patients, healthcare workers, and device manufacturers. Physicians can use data from this technology to make better medical diagnoses, personalize medical treatments, cut costs on chronic care, and improve preventive care routines. 

How does digital health technology work?

Digital health technology, like AI-enabled smartphones, can self-administer screening for diseases like diabetes, advancing the diagnosis of chronic conditions at a faster pace. Mobile monitoring systems exchange information to electronic health records, giving providers a full-scale view of patient health information and improving population health. Technology, like wearables and telehealth, effectively deliver care and critical services to vital population segments, enhancing engagement and aiding drivers of better healthcare. Populations that administer full-time use of digital health technology generate data that can better understand the root cause of illness and disease. The data can support healthcare systems by providing information on social determinants of health and improving health initiatives by measuring patient risk identifiers. Digital tools, like mobile apps, transmit this data to aid in precision health measures that screen for genetic disease, helping increase preventative interventions to target populations. 

Digital health technology gathers patient data by tracking patient health vitals to provide better healthcare services. Software technology, like Digital Therapeutics (DTx), can collect patient health information from IoT-connected mobile or desktop devices to observe mental health and lifestyle changes, aiding in symptom management tailored to the patient's specific needs. DTx also includes wearables that monitor real-time health and behavior updates, allowing patients to track vitals and quickly apply preventive methods to prevent or alleviate negative medical changes. 

How is digital health technology used to improve healthcare services and outcomes?

Digital health technology is creating new avenues of care for large patient populations, making healthcare more accessible while providing proactive healthcare solutions. The technology applications used to improve the patient-provider ecosystem include: 

  • Telehealth: Healthcare services are enabled by digital platforms, mobile apps, computers, and tablets. Patients receive vital care at lower cost and reduced contact, expanding health access to immunocompromised, outpatient, elderly, rural, and low-income populations. 
  • Medical Internet of Things (IoT): Medical IoT is a network of connected medical devices that can communicate and exchange data over the internet. Integrated medical devices on a shared network can transmit real-time patient vitals to connected monitors or systems, allowing physicians to monitor illness and disease progression remotely. 
  • Remote devices: Remote devices can include wearables, sensors, and ingestible and implantable technology that transmit real-time patient data over Bluetooth, IoT, or wireless. These devices provide personalized healthcare and faster diagnosis by monitoring blood pressure, diabetes, heart rate, and weight. 

Digital health technology benefits healthcare organizations in the following ways:

  • Improved data sharing: Health data collected from digital technology can be shared across systems and networks, allowing healthcare teams, specialists, and nurses to quickly access patient medical history. Healthcare can be better coordinated inside and outside of clinical settings, helping engage patients in their health progress.
  • Reduced error in the delivery system: Digitized health data improves the accuracy of patient health records, allowing providers to minimize misdiagnosis, reduce medical error, and improve safety. Standardized data across systems reduce error and waste in healthcare delivery, allowing providers quick access to Electronic Health Records for improved healthcare treatment. 
  • Improved care management: Digital health technology, like telehealth, provides patients with quicker and more accurate health services. Mobile apps, sensors, and wearables monitor symptoms and chronic illness for at-risk populations, improving individual health outcomes with regular usage. Data from digital tools can be easily accessed over shared healthcare networks, allowing providers to monitor health conditions and create better treatment plans.
  • Reduced administrative burden: Data collection from digital health technology can reduce manual workloads, improve record collection, increase information sharing, and provide better storage. Data from remote patient monitoring devices go straight to healthcare databases and networks, allowing clinicians to reduce workforce management and administrative tasks when collecting patient health metrics.
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