Digital Healthcare

What is digital healthcare?

Digital healthcare uses technology and services to improve medical access, enhance health outcomes, reduce costs, monitor symptoms, manage diseases, enable prescriptions, and personalize care to drive healthcare systems toward value-based care models. Digital healthcare enables healthcare organizations to transform the practice and delivery of care by using disruptive technology to help patients maintain better health and identify chronic illnesses.

The healthcare industry uses communications technology and digital health platforms to manage health problems, ease workflows, and increase data sharing across multiple systems. Digital healthcare allows physicians to access patients remotely, optimizing healthcare outcomes and enabling the continuum of care. Patients who use digital technology can easily keep up to date with various health issues – like managing chronic illness, checking blood pressure, or inquiring about new symptoms. 

Digital healthcare includes a range of technology – AI, mobile apps, telehealth, wearable gadgets, sensors, electronic records, the internet, wireless devices, health IT, and integrated circuits – that tailor healthcare to the patient's specific medical needs. Advanced technologies in healthcare enable physicians to provide faster diagnoses and deliver data-enabled care services, lowering costs and waiting times. 

Medical practitioners utilize digital health platforms and systems to improve patient outcomes and deliver timely medical interventions. Such media include patient portals, ingestible sensors, telehealth/telemedicine, and remote medical devices. Health problems can be monitored by gathering data on health indicators in real-time, allowing physicians to make critical decisions while providing holistic care. Health metrics such as heart rate, cholesterol, blood glucose, weight management, and diabetes are measured to help patients improve health habits and control chronic health conditions.

How is digital healthcare used to improve health outcomes?

Medical stakeholders can use digital healthcare in a variety of settings and applications. The healthcare industry utilizes several digital health trends to improve patient outcomes and enable personalized healthcare solutions.

Examples of digital trends include:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is a network of connected objects that can improve the applicability of remote devices and telemedicine, creating more powerful data connectivity and processing through automation.
  • Cloud computing: Cloud infrastructure helps outsource IT activities to powerful off-site platforms, increasing access to information and improving data scalability. 
  • eHealth: eHealth uses communication technologies to give patients better access to health information and allows physicians to share clinical data with other providers easily.
  • Connected health: Patients receive personalized care and improved health coordination through remote devices, telemedicine and telehealth, and wearables. 
  • Mobile health apps: Patients have consistent health monitoring to track lifestyle data like exercise, chronic symptoms, and calorie intake to improve behaviors that can lead to proactive health maintenance. 
  • Wireless health: Smart healthcare devices – wearables, connected implants, and intelligent sensors/tags – enable real-time monitoring of patient health data and medical status, reducing outpatient risks.
  • Quantified self: Patients can use mobile apps and devices to self-track lifestyle factors that impact the quality of health and lifespan. Healthcare providers can utilize personal and wearable device data to shape individual and behavioral interventions. 
  • Health 2.0: Patients take ownership over healthcare choices using various web-based technologies – social media content, cloud systems, and mobile technology – increasing an individual's understanding level of health issues with greater information sharing.
  • Virtual reality: Virtual reality uses simulations to help patients obtain situational comfort in psychologically tricky environments. Immersive simulations can train medical practitioners in complex surgeries and procedures. 

The benefits of digital healthcare include:

  • Preventative care: Digital technology can help monitor symptoms and disease progression, helping patients detect abnormal changes that require immediate medical attention. Providers can use insights from apps and devices to improve patient access to healthcare services and provide direction on lifestyle choices. 
  • Patient-provider trust: Digital health platforms bridge the divide between patients and health care providers, allowing direct and quick engagement on important health information. Improved access to providers helps patients better understand healthcare status and treatments, becoming co-creators of their health outcomes. 
  • Improved healthcare access: Digital healthcare allows patients to receive health updates, test results, and critical care outside a facility. Remote tools, sensors, and mobile apps enable continuous care and adequate health monitoring without the assistance of a hospital. Patients feel empowered to take the proper steps in their healthcare journey.
  • Better data sharing: IoT and cloud systems allow data to be shared across various platforms, increasing stakeholder access and knowledge of patient medical information and history. Healthcare treatments can be quickly tailored to meet a patient's current medical status, reducing incidents of emergencies and prolonged illness.
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