We exist in an electronic era, it’s unsurprising that the healthcare industry has adapted. From smartwatches’ data-driven insights to smartphone applications that assist in managing chronic diseases, it’s apparent that technology is transforming healthcare.
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However, what are individuals obtaining? As a long-standing public health physician and pioneer in healthcare’s digital transformation, below are some of the most effective trends in digital health that I see bringing change in the sector right now.
1. Rising Trends in Digital Health
1.1 Consumer AI
Numerous digital health companies and healthcare providers already have included artificial intelligence (AI) throughout existing operations — and this is not solely for cost-cutting motives. With the assistance of AI in health systems, medical institutions and healthcare organizations may more effectively address challenging patient management concerns such as declining patient experience, hospital readmissions, and growing costs of treatment.
Besides this, consumer AI plays a critical role in advancing the condition of hospital environments and drug development. At the house, for example, AI may assist patients in a greater understanding of their illnesses and therapies by providing individualized suggestions based on each patient’s individual biomedical information.
After all, personalization is critical to achieving superior health results. What is also assisting in the advancement of consumer AI into the digital health industry is its popularity as wearable technology. Through monitoring and data gathering, software such as Google Fit and Apple HealthKit give consumers a comprehensive view of their diet and wellbeing, which may help people to understand their ailments and get preventative care.
All the swear to make the regulatory system robust will continue to face obstacles. These challenges of confidentiality in Digital health records may need to be tackled in what some professionals refer to as “digital trust,” as technologies swiftly arise in order to meet the demands for patient-centered treatment.
1.2 Big Health Data
Smartwatches also contribute to the growth of big health data, it is one of the fast-growing repositories of materials that may give healthcare providers and care professionals a scope to improve patient outcomes.
For example, large health data may be utilized to improve the prediction of chronic disease development in people who are prone to it. Additionally, it has the potential to enhance clinical pathways and med-tech processes. This is consistent with previous demands to shift the focus away from individual medical records and toward comprehensive health plans, as well as toward using data to offer information rather than merely enabling transactions.
Additionally, there is a renewed emphasis on establishing big health data efforts that facilitate secure communication between healthcare providers and their patients, particularly in regards to cloud-based techniques that allow real-time monitoring of health care information.
Many people had their first digital visit during a period when they were unable to meet physicians in person owing to the contagious aspect of COVID-19. Telemedicine consultations increased from 1-2 percent of all ambulatory care trips prior to the epidemic to 30% among all sessions. Consumer readiness to adopt telehealth increased to 66%, reviving the resting behemoth. Health institutions estimate that up to 40% of general practice sessions may be performed distantly. During 2019 and 2020, revenue in telemedicine technologies nearly quadrupled, increasing from $1.1 billion to $3.1 billion.
“COVID-19 supported the testing and deployment of digital health/telemedicine technologies efficiently,” Martin observed. “Tens of millions of people were compelled to check out this new digital healthcare model by situation and security, and they loved it. This benefits disruptors since they are not required to invest marketing money to get patients. Health systems and programs must make significant investments in digital technology or risk being left behind.”
Apart from increased use, investments in telemedicine are being pushed by improvements in government and commercial payer payment policies. It became obvious early on that telehealth had the potential to increase efficiency and cut costs, while also expanding access to treatment and reducing patient demand in institutions. Preventative treatment can also help minimize needless emergency room readmissions—by involving patients more often and at a cheaper price.
1.4 Remote Patient Monitoring
Digital health technologies and medical devices will play a greater role in patient monitoring, offering assistance, and analyzing behaviors—all from the comfort of their homes. The addition of digital indications has the potential to greatly expand usage cases for remote patient monitoring (RPM).
In 2020, total financing for RPM initiatives will further quadruple to $941 million, up from $417 million in 2017. As with telemedicine, its expansion has been facilitated by alterations in financing structures. Healthcare investors anticipate a surge in demand for RPM solutions for acute medication management in 2021. As significant healthcare gains traction, these solutions assist healthcare providers in gaining access to patient data and enabling proactive care strategies. Accessibility to long-term patient records has been demonstrated at COVID-19 to aid in patient triage to enable more results quickly.
1.5 Digital Health: From a Solution to an Ecosystem
The fast proliferation of mobile applications for a variety of health purposes has spawned a new breed of technology — digital health firms dedicated only to serving other digital health enterprises. Whereas digital marketplaces such as Xealth and Redox make it easier for suppliers to purchase and recommend various digital software and applications directly from the EMR, industries such as Zus are trying to overcome data isolation issues with patient-centric data swap solutions.
All of these changes are rooted in a much more comprehensive reorganization of the healthcare system. The epidemic of Covid-19 compelled the healthcare organizations to fill the breach with whatever methods were available. After the threat has been neutralized, it is necessary to determine if these solutions are indeed the best answer for the challenges and requirements of the contemporary system. These infrastructural modifications are likely to continue for some time as the globe adjusts to a post-pandemic reality.
1.6 Cloud-based Data
The acceptance of Cloud computing is helping to bring in a new age of healthcare digitization. Cloud computing offers quick access to and processing of data, which helps healthcare practitioners to make better educated real-time choices.
Additionally, healthcare businesses are beginning to leverage cloud-based technology for improved information management. This involves implementing electronic health records (EHRs), which enable healthcare professionals to easily store, monitor, and exchange data.
Additionally, cloud networks are laying the groundwork for improved telehealth solutions such as remote medical monitoring and mobile health services. Virtual healthcare services, I believe, will become an increasingly feasible choice for people who choose to remain at home in the future.
1.7 Personalized Genetic Testing
Another area in which predictive analytics will play a significant part in the future of consumer AI and healthcare is genetic testing. Genetic testing enables healthcare practitioners to evaluate an individual’s DNA in order to develop a model that predicts how they will respond to specific medications or treatments.
By utilizing this sort of advanced predictive analytics, medication researchers can create individualized treatment regimens that have the potential to enhance the lives of individuals suffering from certain ailments. For instance, pharmacogenetic testing has been utilized to treat chronic pain in children in recent years, and the method has the potential to save billions of dollars now spent on inefficient pharmacological regimens.
Consumers will have more genetic testing options as a result of the development of this technology and service, and these healthcare practitioners will have access to increased amounts of data to enhance patient results and manage operations more effectively. Therefore, additional research is essential to determine the efficacy of this examination throughout a diverse population.
1.8 Business Models Focus on the Patient
Healthcare is not limited to those who are already ill. It’s about safeguarding people’s health and preventing sickness and earlier harm more importantly. By monitoring people in excellent health, physicians — and patients — can detect illness early, when it is more durable.
That is the philosophy underlying the value-based care paradigm (VBC). A primary purpose for the adoption of digital health solutions, the majority of which focus on patient monitoring and tracking, is to assist practitioners and health systems in making a determined effort to incorporate this paradigm into all parts of their treatment. Around a quarter, 23%, of the healthcare industry polled have already shifted to VBC, while 46% are carefully examining their alternatives.
Digital health companies around the world and across the healthcare sector and sub-industries are likewise focused on customized healthcare – 77 percent of survey respondents are seriously considering or have already implemented tailored solutions.
3D printing is the most popular alternative here, with 60% of organizations that manufacture these sorts of solutions carefully examining their possibilities. Additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, notably in orthopedics. Up to 27% of hip revision surgeries are performed owing to inadequate fixation and biomechanical repair of the original implant.
Personalized, patient-specific implants made using today’s additive manufacturing technologies are significantly lowering revision rates, lowering hospital and post-acute care expenses, and routinely achieving improved patient satisfaction ratings.
While the medical data given by digital healthcare software solutions provides fresh insights into health and wellness for patients and providers, it also provides businesses with new income streams. Our poll discovered that 63% of businesses are exploring their alternatives, with fewer businesses in Asia, Europe, and North America considering them owing to consumer data and privacy restrictions such as HIPAA. Patients’ desires, or lack thereof, ultimately determine the future of digital health.
In the next several decades, the ehealth digital transformation will intensify, and medical professionals will progressively turn to digital innovations to enhance patient care while remaining compliant with regulatory obligations.
As more individuals have access to smart technology in their homes, health apps and services, including telehealth solutions, will continue to become a more feasible alternative for patients who wish to remain at home but still receive great treatment. And, as innovation advances, global governments and laws will need to identify the most effective way to utilise new technologies while ensuring their safety and efficacy.