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We’ve been experiencing the rise of digital health channels for a few years now, but it was the pandemic of 2020 that truly accelerated the adoption of this technology. A system of consultations and constant care where the patients aren’t required to be present at the clinic or the hospital. This idea of distanced healthcare is truly ingenious, given the present post-pandemic circumstances as well as the need for an efficient system of healthcare that isn’t too limiting.
What Is Digital Health?
Before we get into the details of what digital health is going to look like in the future, let’s discuss the basics of digital health and what it encompasses.
To clear the air, there is no single definition for digital health. Truth be told, there are multiple definitions online, all, however, follow some similar ideas.
On a general note, digital health is related to use of data to improve care, provide consultations virtually, remotely and consistently monitor the condition of patients, as well as use high tech AI and ML to diagnose and treat ailments that weren’t as easily treatable earlier. The idea of digital health revolves majorly around the overall health and well-being of people and the overall population rather than being limited to the treatment of serious ailments.
As per a 2021 research, the global digital health market size was estimated at USD 96.5 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.1% by 2028. This is due to the increasing cases of multiple ailments like obesity, diabetes and chronic conditions along with a need for remote patient monitoring and digital connectivity.
Now that we have a general idea of what digital health is, let’s get into the details of what it looks like and is expected to look like in the coming years.
Future Digital Health Landscape
Telehealth and Remote Monitoring
Health anytime, anywhere. This is how healthcare has started to look like during the current trends and is only expected to become even more virtual in the near future. What started as a necessity during the pandemic has now become the way of healthcare. Healthcare platforms like Steady Care Medical provide virtual consultations as well as in-person care for the comfort of the patients. Most clinics at the moment are engaging in a balance of both, tailoring their treatment channels to aid patient requirements.
Something as simple as a fall pendant or a bracelet can tell you and your physician a lot about your condition. Wearables of this sort are another crucial innovation of digital health that helps you collect data via sensors and share this with medical staff. This is another way of managing remote healthcare, as all your vitals and fluctuations are received by your designated physician while you are at home or at work.
Forecasting and Managing Workflow
Another crucial aspect of digital health is the systematized structure that was missing earlier. With a centralized system that stores all the data regarding every patient that comes in, gets discharged or needs to be transferred, the technology helps make these decisions much easier. The data analytics provide insights into basic yet crucial questions like who gets into the ICU first, which patient can be transferred to another unit or which patient can be discharged the next morning.
Health and Fitness
With this digital approach to healthcare, we are moving to a more holistic idea of health care and not just sick care. Instead of only focussing on consultations for chronic patients or those suffering from major ailments, this digital approach also helps monitor the overall health of the population. From multiple applications that people can download to their devices to learn about the proper diet or workout to wearables that monitor their vitals, these digital channels also push for the overall health of the people.
Digital Medical Devices
Not only is digital healthcare a great way of connecting with remote patients but also used as a means of diagnosing diseases and conditions in patients. These digital devices have found special prominence in radiology. These machines or medical devices
Oftentimes, specialized professionals are not available on-site or there is a short supply of staff at scanning facilities where they perform MR and CT scans. While at one time, experts had to travel distances to reach these facilities on time, they can now advise, guide and support from any location that they are at.
In the last few years, we’ve also witnessed a surge in health and wellness mobile applications that help you track your nutritional intake. However, a more advanced version of this is nutrigenomics. This field of nutrition focuses on the combined relationship between nutrients, diet, and the gene makeup of a person. This helps people by providing them with more personalized advice and services.
To learn about a patient’s real requirements, companies require blood samples that can be analyzed to find the genetic makeup of the patient. As per the requirements of this analysis, patients receive a personalized diet plan along with workout schedules and more. Other companies use the information via wearables and analyze those to find the best fit of diet and workout for the patient.
Artificial intelligence has come a long way, becoming a crucial part of digital healthcare today. From being used by oncologists to detect ailments like cancer and improving the efficacy of the treatment to streamlining the overall workflow of the healthcare centers. Technology has helped improve the system of healthcare over the years and we can only expect more advancement in the future.