Future of Digital Health

The benefits of digital healthcare have been sweeping across the medical landscape for almost a decade, bringing radical changes in diagnosis and treatment, as well as patient care and continuity of care. According to Rock Health, an organization funding and supporting startups in healthcare IT, there has been a 125 percent rise in investments for start-ups in the digital healthcare space over the last year. Digital health is big business, with $7.4 billion flowing into the space since 2010. Venture capitalists are looking to fund firms that straddle the lines of healthcare and technology.

Digital Health Innovators – Touching Lives, Making a Difference

Start-ups are already revolutionizing almost every field of healthcare, including data management, diagnostics, personalized treatment, etc. As an example, let’s look at how the healthcare app ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is changing healthcare. ImPACT is one of the most trusted and reliable computerized systems available for use when a patient must be evaluated for a concussion. With the help of the ImPACT Passport, a mobile app, patients are able to keep track of their records and test results, and get in touch with a healthcare professional in case of an emergency. The app allows for quicker response times, and more accurate results. The use of personal identification codes to identify patients helps to ensure that the information is secure and patient privacy is maintained.

Another application that has proven to be extremely beneficial is SwiftPayMD. This app helps in revenue cycle management by facilitating paperless processing of medical statements through any mobile or desktop device. It has speech and video sensor based data capture technology which can be used to complete the billing process using real-time data transmission, thereby saving time and additional costs.

Extraordinary developments have also been observed in tech aided medical products like the robotic exoskeletons designed by Ekso Bionics. This product can be used in medical, industrial, and military environments. The exoskeleton powers the lower limbs, allowing paralyzed patients to “walk” and able-bodied wearers to carry extra weight or lengthen endurance, say while walking or hiking, during rescue operations, or military expeditions.

Applying the Vision

The products mentioned above, along with many others, have changed the way many healthcare providers function. They have been designed to improve the current quality of healthcare. While the earlier technology adoption waves were more about the processes, this third wave will focus on patient needs. Many companies may struggle to comprehend the level of tech adoption that is required.

On a positive note, patients themselves have become more accustomed to and less fearful of the wealth of digital services provided. Many patients consult “Doctor Google” before even entering a clinic, and they refer to websites and public forums when looking for health related support or the latest medical research or breakthroughs. Even our older generations are more open to today’s technology, ready to turn to digital healthcare services provided the level of care meets with their expectations for quality. Telemedicine, telehealth, and remote monitoring are already transforming the way patients receive medical care and guidance. There is focus on new ways to make healthcare available to patients outside of hospitals and doctor’s offices. Without a doubt, the mobilization of healthcare is a huge driving factor in the digital transformation of the industry.

Millennials, not surprisingly, eagerly accept and adapt to these changes. According to the State of Connected Patient report that surveyed over 1,700 Americans with health insurance who were under the care of a doctor at the time, millennials confidently book online appointments, key in their own medical information at doctors and dentists offices, purchase wearable devices to track their health and wellness and provide health information to their doctor, use 3D prosthetics, manage devices to monitor internal vital signs where required, and use mobile applications to share information.

It is important to remember that innovation is meant to make services readily available and simpler to use. This is also true for digital healthcare technologies. Patients are not simply looking for high tech services. Rather, they expect efficient, informative, integrated, and personalized service from their healthcare providers. This is what start-ups should be aiming to tap into in order to bring about a technology transformation in the healthcare industry. And this is what traditional healthcare organizations should be aiming to achieve as they adopt new technology, and evolve towards digital healthcare adoption.

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