Digital health is the convergence of digital and genomic technologies with health, healthcare, living, and society to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and make medicines more personalized and precise. The discipline involves the use of information and communication technologies to help address the health problems and challenges faced by patients, as well as the general public who wants to stay healthy.
In this article we aim to explore the many factors behind the digital health revolution. Actually, we have opted for eight factors, though there are others as well. Here are...
8 Factors Behind The Digital Health Revolution
1. Aging population
Simply put there are not enough beds to put baby boomers in hospitals once they start to get sick (which typically comes with age). Digital health solutions, such as remote monitoring and telehealth, could help seniors age at home, while enabling doctors to stay in touch with them at all times and at a fraction of the cost.
2. Healthcare is getting more expensive
In the U.S. it accounts for 18% of the country's GDP. To put this figure in perspective, U.S. healthcare is as big as the GDP of France. Again, digital health technologies could reduce costs on all sides, and this is especially true with chronic conditions, treating which accounts for a lion's share of any country's health spending.
3. More bandwidth
In most places, people still get x-ray images on a CD. While it is useful to have those images available at home/office, it would be better to store them — along with other medical images — in the cloud and have them accessible by all interested parties, including doctors, family members and so on. Today's internet is fast enough to enable this. Also, the storage has never been so affordable and abundant.
4. Increased security
One problem with health records is that you can't just let everyone carry them around — they could be stolen or compromised in some other way. Pretty much all newer phones come with a fingerprint reader that could be used as a gateway to provide users and authorized third-parties with access to health records of an individual.
5. Mobile revolution
People are already using smartphones which serve as an entry point for many of emerging digital health solutions; they (could) provide users with quick access to their health data and are used to connect to other health devices, such as smart scales, activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, and more.
6. Doctor shortage
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will suffer a shortage of up to 104,900 doctors by 2030, and the situation is similar in other parts of the world, as well. Telehealth services could help address this gap while at the same time keeping costs at bay.
7. The lack of healthcare infrastructure in developing countries
A number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have an even worse problem, as they lack the basic healthcare infrastructure. In these places various digital health solutions could be used to bridge the gap and provide access to health services to people living in rural areas, using mobile phones and few smart, portable instruments.
8. Genomics revolution
It used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to have your DNA sequenced; today it is possible to get a full genomic sequence for a few thousand dollars. Also, there are some consumer-facing companies offering simple genetic records for a few hundreds, while some even aim to create personalized nutrition and fitness plans based on your DNA. This market is just starting out...
Combined, these factors have inspired a number of organizations, both big and small, to seize the opportunity...
How to Get Started in Digital Health?
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