The world turns to advanced digital technology, but the healthcare industry still lags behind. eHealth will make access to quality healthcare services for everyone. So what exactly is eHealth and why should we integrate it into the healthcare system?
What is Digital Health?
Finding a concise definition of digital health is difficult. It refers to the information and technologies that enable a person to make informed choices about their health, take action to improve it and monitor their progress to realize what works for them and what doesn’t.
By contributing their biological and behavioral data, people can allow healthcare facilities to respond to their health and care needs.
Technologies like data analytics, smartphone sensors and cloud storage are playing a critical role in digital health today. It helps in early prediction of illness; timelier and more accurate identification of diseases will further enhance treatment. Digital health innovations are expected to play a significant role in:
- Reducing long-term healthcare costs
- Enabling better healthcare outcomes
- Empowering both medical practitioners and patients with real-time data
Telemedicine, coupled with lower-cost care settings such as home care will further ensure the most efficient level of care.
With the advent of new technologies, a lot of challenges faced by healthcare can be addressed.
Challenge #1: Reducing Healthcare Costs
Preventing chronic disease is much more cost-effective in the long run compared to treating the disease. Wearable technology and sensors allow real-time monitoring of everything — blood pressure, heartbeat, activity level, etc. The adoption of these devices coupled with data analytics may soon make patient health monitoring possible from afar and intervene directly to prevent chronic diseases from happening.
Challenge #2: Improving Healthcare Access
To benefit from significant advancements in modern medicine, it’s essential to have access to those advancements first. Unfortunately, healthcare access is not equitably distributed. The increased prevalence of e-visits and telemedicine allows patients to interact with caregivers virtually. This comes as a boon for those living in remote areas who often gets hard to access healthcare services.
Challenge #3: Reducing Inefficiencies in Healthcare
Administrative expenses like patient record sharing play a significant role in rising healthcare costs. Patient data is generally physically copied or shared through fax or as hard-copy, when a patient moves from one hospital or physician to another, which often leads to incomplete records.
One potential solution may be using blockchain. This will not just allow proper maintenance of patient record but also ensures patient privacy and data integrity. Reducing these inefficiencies will address many of the concerns plaguing healthcare.
Given the pace of digital disruption, healthcare facilities need to transform substantially. The industry can no longer afford to be sloth on the innovation uptake.