What is Digital Health?
What is Digital Health?
Digital Health is the intersection between technology and healthcare. It is a rapidly dev eloping industry that includes categories such as mobile health apps, health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth and personalized medicine. Patients, doctors, nurses, scientists and researchers all use this technology today. This technology is vital to ensure people are treated in a fair, ethical and equal way along with transparency.
Digital Health technology records data from all activities, including ‘traditional’ health data such as blood pressure and heart rate along with real time information from different societal activities. This data is then classified according to factors such as age, area, disease, height, weight etc to develop correlations between situations and find cures to diseases. With the advent of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, this information can be found with a large sample size and rapid discoveries of correlations. AI will be a big aid to medics as it can recommend people with what they need, when they should take their medicines and use safer treatment methods. Some of this technology is already seen now in mHealth mobile apps and wearables that can record heart rate and manage long term diseases. Hospitals use AI and medical devices to perform difficult, accurate tasks such as surgeries or dental treatments. While there is still the ethical question, and the patient’s approval over whether robots should be operating on them, it is a scientific fact that the AI based machines are more reliable than normal human doctors.
During the COVID pandemic, the use of online health care with remote patient monitoring tools and telehealth increased as people needed to stay far apart to avoid the spread of the virus. The amount of people interested in telehealth rocketed from 11% in 2019 to 76% in 2020. Along with this, Digitization of healthcare helped increase the speed with which billions of vaccines reached people on time. Governments across the world used their own apps to keep track of vaccination records, let people know where there was a COVID hotspot and other helpful features. While Digital Health massively helped people during the pandemic, it also exposed problems in healthcare facilities throughout the world that can now be addressed. The pandemic also increased the rate of development in this field as demand for these technologies increased.
While this technology is readily available in developed countries, getting this to middle and lower income nations is crucial. This technology has the ability to save millions of lives and for this reason, the World Health Organization has developed a plan to efficiently distribute Digital Health devices over the next five years with a global strategy that is understood by its member states. They aim to institutionalize Digital Health in the national health system of countries, promote the use of this technology in the right way and appropriately invest in Digital Health in poorer countries as things like poverty, education, digital divide, infrastructure and financial investment also need to be addressed. Along with this, it is vital that countries agree to the free passage of accurate health statistics. During the COVID pandemic, some countries reported lower cases to make the ruling party look better. With this technology, people are told the truth.
In conclusion, Digital Health has the ability to gather a vast amount of data, utilize that data to develop more accurate healthcare solutions and automatize human healthcare tasks. The further innovation in this field will be a gigantic leap for humanity as a whole as this technology is certain to save a number of lives.