Digital health is an extremely broad term that even industry experts often disagree on. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines digital health as a broad scope of digital health that includes technologies such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine. These digital health platforms and technologies empower consumers, healthcare providers, support staff, and payers to make better-informed decisions about their own health and provide new options for facilitating prevention, early diagnosis of life-threatening diseases, and management of chronic conditions outside of traditional care settings. Digital health extends the clinical and patient journey of healthcare in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings.
On the other hand, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS) defines digital health as a digital health ecosystem using technology to connect and empower people and populations to manage health and wellness, augmented by accessible and supportive provider teams working within flexible, integrated, interoperable, and digitally-enabled care environments that strategically leverage digital tools, technologies, and services to transform health care delivery.
I interviewed 30 digital health commercial leaders and consultants to get their opinions and experiences on the global evolution of digital health, and three interesting global trends emerged – the conversations led to some fascinating insights.
- The Global Consumerism of digital health technologies by individuals is creating a massive amount of personal healthcare data points which is accelerating the need for AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning technologies to drive useful data insights.
- A more comprehensive patient “digital health AVATAR” – a patient’s digital health footprint. This trend will allow for better consolidation of patient health information, leading to better patient outcomes and reduced costs
- Intermittent interoperability across global digital health platforms hinders global scaling & adoption, especially throughout LMICs (Low & Middle-Income Countries.)
The ecosystem of Digital Health will continue to evolve rapidly. 85% of the digital health experts agree that patients, healthcare providers, payers, and the healthcare industry will all benefit from the democratization of digital health technologies, allowing for better disease prevention, diagnosing, and disease treatment at lower costs, especially in LMICs. The future of digital health is a thrilling topic to explore!