The convergence of healthcare and digital technology can be referred to as digital healthcare and this is what is discussed in a Digital Healthcare Summit. The coming together of health, healthcare, lifestyle etc with digital technology is one of the leads to healthcare. This convergence is one of the main drivers of personalized and precise medicine. Digital healthcare involves using information technology and digital communication to address and sold health problems, attend to patients and face daily challenges in the medical industry.
When you hear of digital healthcare and digital technologies, you probably think of really advanced technology and million dollar equipment, while this is true, digital technologies in healthcare also includes everyday consumer devices and platforms that patients use to communicate with doctors and nurses. These technologies are both hardware and software so both mobile devices, pedometer, emails, online health platforms, and even text messages all qualify as digital technologies.
In addition, advanced technology like telemedicine and technology used for 3D imaging and non-invasive surgeries are also digital technology for healthcare. These interconnected health systems help to improve the use of computational technologies, smart devices, computational analysis techniques and communication media to aid healthcare professionals and patients manage illnesses and health risks, as well as promote health and wellbeing.
Digital Healthcare Summit: Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a new type of digital software. Telemedicine is the process of providing healthcare and health services through telecommunication devices. The telecommunication devices are video, chat and mobile applications. Telemedicine is still relatively new and it’s being adopted by more and more healthcare organizations. Howbeit there are still people who prefer the old-school way and push-back on accepting telemedicine as an acceptable way of delivering care. Telemedicine is particularly beneficial for its ability to bring care to areas otherwise inaccessible. With telemedicine barriers to medicine like international borders and travel costs. This makes this health tech solution is particularly beneficial to those in hard-to-access areas, or in developing countries where there may be a shortage of accessible healthcare in a vicinity. Whilst Telemedicine has only become a truly viable option in the past decade due to technological advancements, it is fast-growing as one of the most widely used and invested in forms of Healthcare Technology.
Digital Healthcare Summit: Reducing Costs
- Healthcare is quite expensive and has become increasingly so in the past couple of decades. In the United States in particular healthcare has increased in price and there are numerous reasons for this. Below we list some of the reasons for increased healthcare cost and further down, we discuss how digitized healthcare can help reduce these costs.
- The United States healthcare system has a “fee for service” system that rewards activity rather than outcomes and this means there is little to no transparency in the pricing for patients.
- There is an over-reliance on specialists (which are more expensive) than generalists. Generalists can provide routine community care at a reduced cost than specialists.
- Administrative expenses run high due to the complex multilayer, and bureaucratic systems.
- There is still a focus on treating acute episodes of illnesses rather than on preventing disease. There needs to be a focus on proactive care and not reactive care.
- There is a lot of emphasis on new and “innovative” treatments and medication that are sensationalized and are also quite expensive. Older and establish methods are thus ignored for these new and expensive treatment methods.
Digital Healthcare Summit: Fixes to High Costs
- Due to these reasons, there has been increased pressure on the healthcare system to implement preventive measures to cut cost. Thus all healthcare organizations, from pharma to equipment providers to services, are shifting away from a model based on market share and revenues to one that produces superior health outcomes at lower costs. But one cannot help but wonder if this is all just hot air and if the healthcare organizations and big pharma especially are really doing anything to reduce costs.
- There have been increased talks on there being a shift to outsourcing and treatment approaches. This means that healthcare providers can break down their activities and contract some of them out to specialists outside their organization. So for example instead of having a specialist in-house who is usually expensive to maintain, you outsource those services out so that way you are only paying for it when needed. So a small healthcare organization might refrain from buying an MRI machine which is quite expensive as they won’t have daily use of it and they just send patients to an MRI lab when there’s a patient who needs an MRI scan
Key Importance of Digital Healthcare
Digital healthcare is expected to garner more interest in the healthcare industry. People are interest in technology and all its applications and the emergence of technology applications and healthcare means a bigger audience for the industry.
With technology, big data in healthcare becomes not so overwhelming. A huge collection of patient data is an unrivaled resource in the healthcare industry and making the most of it is the goal of every healthcare organization that wants to grow. Thus using technological applications to navigate big data offers a huge advantage. Companies that figure out how to use this data to address medical needs could transform healthcare worldwide.
Wearable health devices have been in the industry for a while now and it continues to be improved upon. Wearable health devices increase patient engagement and provides more accurate and in-depth patient data. For example, cardiovascular health monitoring may continue to attract high levels of interest. By 2035, devotees of wearable wellness monitoring technology may dominate the marketing opportunities, with more advanced wearable devices and apps to promote good mental health gaining a strong following.