What if doctors could make better, more accurate decisions regarding patient treatment? What if we could all learn how to prevent certain diseases based on what our smartphones record about us?
This is not only possible but something that is improving every day. Read more to find out what are the top digital health trends of 2023.
Think of digital health as a blend of tech and healthcare. Digital health includes a wide range of applications such as mobile health (mHealth) apps, wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, electronic health records (EHRs).
Basically, it’s digital transformation in the healthcare system with the purpose of improving healthcare and promoting well-being. However, digital health technologies are a game-changer when it comes to personalizing the patient experience, from prevention to intervention. For example, it leverages tech such as AI (artificial intelligence) to diagnose several conditions such as cancer and chronic heart disease. Therefore, it promotes successful recovery or treatment.
Health tech has many benefits, both for patients and healthcare providers. Some of them are:
All in all, personalized and accessible medicine provides a positive experience for the patient. It also involves patients in their own health care, which is usually difficult to achieve.
From health data to AI, here are the top trends that help providers improve patient care in 2023:
Applying big data in healthcare can help hospitals better manage patient records and improve their performance. It can be used in many ways such as preventing diseases and even pandemics.
Some examples of applications include Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and real-time alerting through wearable devices and even predictive analytics. Most importantly, doctors will be able to make data-driven decisions such as treatment recommendations based on the data already available.
The biggest problem with this type of data is that patient information is fragmented (creating data siloes). For example, one of our clients is a digital health company that has expertise in HL7 FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources).
We have collaborated with them to develop a system that can handle unorganized health information, like plain text from medical records and reports. The system is used to auto-populate data from EHRs to Electronic Data Capture systems (EDCs). The latter is used to store patient data collected in clinical trials. This makes it easy to automatically tell if the clinical trial patient has certain diagnostics in their medical records.
Digital health applications range from fitness trackers to symptom checkers and mental health apps. Their main purpose is to improve health access for many more people.
Digital health applications not only collect vast amounts of data. They are crucial for day-to-day use when it comes to all stages of medical intervention and prevention.
Take, for example, a Qubiz client that needed to improve their app through an improved data collection process. This app can take accurate blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate readings in 40 seconds. How? This app uses machine learning models to predict these health indicators.
Even better, anyone can use this app on their mobile device, such as an iPad. Therefore, it's an effective self-monitoring tool. There is no need to buy other devices such as blood pressure checkers or set an appointment with a medical provider.
Covid-19 highlighted healthcare inequality but also provided a much-needed boom in telemedicine and telehealth services during lockdowns. Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and monitoring of patients. Take, for example, making appointments online, video consultations, online prescription refills, viewing test results, etc.
This type of service can reduce the time to access treatment. It also decreases the number of unnecessary repeated examinations, and length of hospital stays.
One of our clients is a large university hospital in Belgium. They have more than 10,000 employees which makes improving workflows a top priority. We have built an app where providers can offer consulting services via video streaming, text and chat. They can also exchange treatment-related documents in no time.
It’s very convenient for people who put off face-to-face appointments due to scheduling conflicts. It also has the potential to reach many more people, including underserved communities, such as rural areas.
The global cloud computing market for the healthcare industry is expected to reach around $25.54 billion by 2024. At the same time, healthcare is known for its slow digitalisation process, as many institutions still use outdated legacy systems. However, they are starting to see the benefits of cloud computing, especially when it comes to sharing records and automating operations.
Other benefits include lowering costs as cloud computing eliminates the need for an extensive IT team. It’s also much easier to share medical records with different team members that work with the same patients. The goal is to reduce miscommunication when it comes to diagnosis or treatment plans.
Of course, as electronic health records (EHR)use up a lot of space, the cloud also solves the problem of scalability. Additionally, it’s easier to back up and recover crucial information, which could save lives.
Many organisations are increasingly preoccupied with sustainability–healthcare institutions make no exception.
This concern partly stems from the fact that healthcare is a very resource-intensive industry. It's responsible for almost 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, as energy prices increase, hospitals and clinics want to cut costs as well as go green.
World Health Organization (WHO) defines sustainable healthcare as a “health system that improves, maintains or restores health while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.”
We can already see some principles emerging here. First, organizations should minimize waste. Second, use resources more efficiently. Third, prioritize prevention in order to reduce the need for intervention in the first place.
Health technology creates more effective workflows that reduce waste, such as removing unnecessary tests or hospitalizations whenever possible. As mentioned above, it also helps detect early signs of disease and individual risk factors so prevention is much more likely.
Telehealth means that patients don’t have to drive to a clinic or hospital for appointments. They can see results and seek treatment from the comfort of their own homes, saving tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
People already use the internet to find health-related information and connect with others with similar interests. Healthcare communities can be a powerful tool for bringing together providers and patients.
Online communities for physicians can have a big impact on access to information, and resources, leading to overall better patient care. For patients, the most important part is the support they receive.
For example, caregiving for older adults can be a very challenging and often isolating experience. Here at Qubiz, we have helped develop SeniorAtlas, a community platform for matching seniors and their families with caregiving professionals.
The platform offers recommendations based on detailed profiles and it helps weed out scams through references and background checks. Even better, families can connect with other caregivers in their area so they can support each other and even share responsibilities.
AI is the biggest trend in all industries right now. When it comes to healthcare, the biggest advantage is that AI can work with data to accurately predict health outcomes. In many cases, preventable issues can fall through the cracks, especially when providers are already overworked. Through AI, decision-making becomes much easier.
Another aspect is making medicine more personalized or customizing treatment to suit each patient’s needs. This is very important since people vary based on genetics, lifestyles, behaviour and treatment responsiveness. Using AI, doctors can prescribe better, more personalized medicine treatments. They can also monitors the results and even use simulations to see how treatments could evolve.
Of course, there are many other AI applications here. Using a virtual assistant, people can immediately get answers related to health issues. AI can also find patterns in how certain infectious diseases spread, thus being able to limit their impact.
It’s clear that once they see the benefits of digital health innovation, hospitals and clinics won’t go back. First, their overall performance improves as technology helps them improve healthcare. Second, it’s a way for technology to shoulder some of the burdens of diagnosis and monitoring.
Of course, AI will continue to play a major part, especially when it comes to creating a more personalized patient experience.
Speaking of digital health, what better way to stay up to date with these trends, than participate in DMEA 2023, Europe’s leading digital health conference? And if you’re planning to attend, we can also schedule an online meeting to talk about your digital health solution ideas and how we can help you bring them to life!