The healthcare industry is changing at a rapid pace. Today, patients have more access to medical information and technology than ever before. As the global demand to create better health outcomes rises, the healthcare business is embracing new advances in technology to meet those demands.
The healthcare delivery system is now focusing more on patients and community care settings instead of focusing on hospitals and providers. Global healthcare systems are being re-engineered by leveraging mobile and cloud technology. This new trend helps healthcare providers get better access to patient data, which further helps them to improve the overall healthcare services.
Why Digital Health?
The question that now arises is: Why should we consider digital health? The practice of interventional medicine was first popularized during the 1960s. Artificial parts including limbs, kidneys, lungs and drove advancements in medicine. Physicians and medical engineers extensively used these implants to improve both the quality of life and the longevity of a patient.
Major technological advancements over the past few years have made a prevention-based model in healthcare a reality. Digital capacities, backed by enhanced software, now allow healthcare providers to monitor patients closely, even from remote locations, using sensors to track movement, heart rhythm, or irregularities in the body.
Digital medicine not only enhances interactive experiences between patients and healthcare providers but also helps to prevent many diseases before they occur, and allow for immediate action during emergency situations. The use of wearable technology is further helping patients gather medical data for self-monitoring purposes.
Digital Health & Business
According to a recent report from The American Journal of Medicine, almost 92 percent of Americans over the age of 65 suffer from one or more chronic diseases, including diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, chronic diseases cause seven of every 10 deaths in the U.S. and account for more than 75 percent of the country’s total healthcare costs.
Worst still, chronic disease is increasing in numbers. It is estimated that by 2020 almost 48 percent of the total U.S. population will suffer from some type of chronic disease. To combat this battle, more and more technology brands are joining hands to make digital healthcare more feasible. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Facebook and Google have entered into partnerships to promote the overall health and wellness of people.
Technology giants Apple and Samsung have already invested in wearable technology that supports various sectors of healthcare. The eagerly anticipated Apple Watch, which is set to hit the consumer market in this month, is integrated with sensors to monitor heart rate, pulse, daily activity and much more.
Besides, we have examples of other wearable devices such as Fitbit, Jawbone, and Misfit that many have already made a part of their daily life. However, not every attempt to jump on the digital health bandwagon was successful. Zeo, for example, a sleep monitoring system that was one of the first of its kind, shut its doors in 2013. The device included a wireless, sensor-equipped headband that communicated with an alarm clock to capture the data transmitted from the device. However, the device failed to provide practical, actionable data, and as a result lost in the competition from more general purpose gadgets like Fitbit.
Wearable devices combine medicine with intelligence to transform the healthcare industry. Never before has the world of healthcare services been so readily available to patients, thanks to mobile and cloud technology. Besides opening doors to improved healthcare, these trends are also establishing digital health as a business sector in itself.
Image Source: Unsplash, Jordan McQueen