The healthcare sector is not immune to the effects of the rapid development of technology in 2022. The world has quickly adjusted over the previous two years of COVID-19, ushering in the advent of telehealth services, medical apps, and platforms. Owing to these technologies, doctors could save lives without putting themselves in danger while doing so.
What is Digital Health
The term “digital health” describes the practice of combining medical knowledge with information technology (IT) applications or IT technologies to better patient care and monitoring. For example, this allows for continuous monitoring of vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation) and the ability to tell whether or not a patient has fallen at home by tracking their body temperature and analyzing their movement patterns using just a smartphone.
It is expected that advances in digital health will help in the following areas:
- The elderly will be able to stay in their comfortable social setting for longer rather than moving to a nursing home/care home.
- Patients are more likely to follow their treatment plans.
- Reducing the number of needless hospitalizations is a major benefit.
- The adoption of a preventative lifestyle.
A multi-billion-dollar industry is developing here, and companies not previously involved in the health industry are beginning to make significant investments there, Like Apple with its health-monitoring watch and Google with contact lenses with glucose monitoring function.
What’s coming up for digital healthcare?
Some projections put the value of the digital health market at over $550 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 16.5%.
The healthcare services we receive now would not be possible without legacy systems, which are still necessary despite the rise of digitization. Ultimately, we hope to bring healthcare into the 21st century by strengthening its efficiency and security without compromising its availability. Let’s review the latest findings to see how technology changes the medical field.
A patient-focused, data-driven healthcare network
The vision for the future of digital health is a collaborative system of care that includes both remote and in-person visits, informed by real-time and predictive analytics. Improved operational efficiency due to AI-enabled workflow optimization allows healthcare personnel to devote more time to patient care. We can encourage a transition from sick care to proper health care by providing individuals with the tools they need to better care for their health and well-being through individualized digital health solutions. These benefits of digital transformation—improved health outcomes, a more positive patient and worker experience, and lower overall healthcare costs—are interconnected.
The Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful driver of healthcare innovation and emerging capability. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be used to enable highly personalized healthcare, in which specific courses of action are advised or automatically taken based on continuous monitoring of patient status and compliance with, say, a digital twin or through engagement with an eHealth monitoring platform.
To provide tailored medicine and precision healthcare solutions, more than three-quarters of digital healthcare solution providers are either actively experimenting with or already employing cutting-edge technologies.
The role of hospitals
We anticipate that during the next decade, care will shift from hospitals to the community and the home, with hospitals continuing to be responsible for a significant amount of the overall cost of healthcare today. However, their developments are speeding up this change:
- To start, hospital-at-home programs are expanding as they are shown to enhance outcomes with less money and greater patient satisfaction.
- Furthermore, many unnecessary hospitalizations will be avoided as our ability to forecast and prevent the acute complications of chronic disease is further enhanced by personalized medicine.
- And finally, we will be able to provide telemedical treatment on par with that provided in hospitals right in people’s homes as digital health technology improves. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated this trend.
- Procedures will be able to move to community surgical centers thanks to innovations like augmented reality, surgical navigation, and telementoring; reimbursement reforms can hasten this transition. Clinicians can also provide chronic illness management programs that are not restricted to a physical location, thanks to telemedicine services.
Health records on a blockchain
Despite blockchain’s controversial reputation, the healthcare industry expects to reap $890.5 million benefits from it by 2023. A blockchain, a distributed ledger of past transactions, can be useful for keeping and storing digital medical records. In places like Australia and the United Kingdom, blockchain has already been proven to be an excellent tool for increasing precision and preventing data infractions. In this way, blockchain has eliminated the risk of incorrect diagnoses, which can be fatal due to the dispersed nature of traditional medical records.
IoT and Medicine
The adoption of connected devices, such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and medical monitors, is fueling a surge in interest in the field of medical IoT. Medical IoT can provide upgraded versions of conventional medical devices, such as the smart inhaler (a device that synchronizes patient use with a mobile app), by utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology.
With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.6% this year, IoT is one of the hottest developments in digital health. The widespread acceptance of cloud computing and mobile applications is a major factor in this expansion.
Progress in Medical Testing and Treatment
According to studies, those who suffer from several comorbidities pay for a huge proportion of healthcare costs, and chronic diseases are responsible for many of those costs.
Self-management as part of a treatment program for individuals with chronic diseases has small to moderate impacts on health behavior, health outcomes, and service usage; therefore, it should be a continuous priority in promoting population health. That is why there is both a demand and a need for solutions that make it easier to diagnose, lessen the impact of disease, and provide better treatment for those with chronic conditions. As a result, digital health solutions for diagnosis and treatment are receiving significant investment from the healthcare industry, especially those serving high-need, high-cost populations.
One example of a diagnostic tool improved by digital health is smartphone-based photoplethysmography (capturing video of the subject’s index fingertip using the smartphone’s camera) paired with a deep neural network, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) to identify diabetes.