Digital health has made considerable strides in such a short period of time—specifically over the last year as COVID caused rapid digitization. From greater connectivity and accessibility to cost reduction and care improvement, digital health technology is making innovative healthcare experiences possible for both providers and patients.
This acceleration of information and convenience brings a mixture of benefits and challenges. The sudden increase in digital health products over the past few years raises many questions about how data is being collected, applied, and regulated.
Let’s explore the critical importance of digital health, the regulatory challenges of specific technology like digital health apps, and the best way forward to improving healthcare services long-term.
What Is Digital Health?
Digital health is the use of data and technology to manage wellness and mitigate health risks. This holistic view brings new opportunities to improve efficiency and outcomes across the spectrum of care delivery.
The definition of digital health is quite broad in its scope. Digital health technology involves software, computing platforms, connectivity, and sensors—often driven by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Applications range from apps used for medical devices to apps used for general wellness, including:
- Wearable devices
- Mobile health or mHealth
- Health Information Technology (IT)
Digital health technology supports providers by helping them make day-to-day clinical decisions, which supports patients as a result, since providers are able to improve the accuracy of a diagnosis and treatment plan. Data collection also becomes easier with the help of technology which can then later help develop better medical products and services. For patients, digital health vastly improves access to care.
When it comes to enhancing healthcare services around the world, digital health has massive potential.
Why is Digital Health Important?
Digital health is advancing the healthcare industry as it aims to enhance the overall quality of healthcare services. Some of the many advantages of digital health include the creation of:
Sustainable and Responsive Healthcare
Healthcare systems globally are under tremendous pressure due to the rising cost of healthcare services and the increasing number of individuals living with chronic ailments, making it imperative to shift to digital health approaches as a sustainable form of healthcare.
Digital health technologies offer users swift access to healthcare, enhancing the overall quality of patient care. These technologies also reduce the excessive burden currently faced by healthcare professionals. By increasing collaboration and involvement, patients become advocates throughout the care journey to help improve outcomes.
A True Sense of Partnership
Digital health systems work to break down barriers and unite efforts between healthcare providers and patients. Providers gain direct and quick access to the medical history of patients and their current health status. As a result, the transparency, trust, and partnership between providers and patients increases.
Vital aspects of a person’s well-being such as their environment, use and adherence to medications or any new symptoms—in addition to social determinants of health (SDoH)—can be updated and accessed on these platforms in real-time. All of these capabilities make it easier than ever before for providers and patients to work together.
Proactive Care for At-Risk Patients
Digital health technologies are proving to be invaluable tools when it comes to the early detection of symptoms, offering immense value to at-risk patients.
Through the regular tracking and monitoring of a patient’s symptoms, patients self-manage their health and providers leverage this data to understand the best course of action. Providers are then able to act upon any significant changes in the progression of a patient’s disease before it becomes irreversible.
Major Challenges with Digital Health Apps
The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly digitized, and there has been a massive growth of IoT and mobile devices that act as data collection tools. All the major tech companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung have entered the domain of digital health.
These apps raise issues of data protection, informed consent, and privacy, blurring ethical lines and threatening data privacy. Another key challenge is the skyrocketing presence of digital health apps in the market that provide incorrect clinical information, which potentially leads to the incorrect diagnoses of patients.
Digital health apps are growing at a breakneck speed. Last year, 90,000 digital health apps were released—that’s an average of 250 apps per day. Along the way, there is too much “cutting corners” happening and there should be more thoughtfulness and care with data.
What is the Future of Digital Health?
The future of digital health is quite promising as this technology is constantly becoming more refined and accessible. Digital health companies worldwide raised a whopping $6.7 billion in venture funding in 2021. This alone shows how optimistic investors are in the continued growth of digital health technology.
Top digital health trends—in no particular order—include further progress and expansion in:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud-Based Patient Records
- IoT and Medicine
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Age Tech
- Digital Health Apps
The quality of healthcare will continue to advance significantly through digital health technology as it focuses on key aspects such as patient empowerment, clinical outcomes, and a reduction in healthcare costs.
Traditional healthcare solutions are extremely limited in terms of patient-doctor interaction. In contrast, digital health platforms offer greater validation to patients as they can access healthcare services anytime and anywhere to enhance their overall healthcare experience.
How SkyPoint Empowers Digital Health Progress
The bright future of digital health technology depends on unified and secure data…a healthcare data platform like SkyPoint Cloud is here to support your organizational efforts.
SkyPoint is empowering today’s most innovative digital health technology brands. Vivante Health is one of these brands.
Digital health apps aim to help their users treat specific ailments and achieve health and fitness goals. Vivante specializes in helping patients with digestive health issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). To provide this highly customized health guidance, Vivante must skillfully use personal confidential information about their customers.
By using SkyPoint Cloud, Vivante is able to take a privacy-first approach with customer data by keeping track of sensitive information and restricting or granting access to this data based upon a user’s role. For example, a user who works in the marketing department only needs to understand broad customer trends so they do not need to see any data that identifies specific patients.
This is just one quick example of how a healthcare data platform like SkyPoint helps digital health brands like yours. We’d love to share more ways we can help your team. Request a demo and we’ll show you the best way forward.