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article imageKey trends shaping digital health

By Tim Sandle     Jan 27, 2019 in Health
The healthcare sector has been subject to a rocky disruption during the past decade due to the advent of new digital technologies. The application of wearable monitors and artificial intelligence are changing the way human health is assessed.
Digital health technology can help to assess the appropriate combination of drugs to administer and it can provide real-time health metrics in relation to patients. Such technology also raises some concerns in relation to accuracy and with data privacy. As these issues are played out and discussed, health technology innovations are changing the traditional approach to health delivery.
Other examples of healthcare digital transformation include the digitalization of healthcare records; the use of more advanced scanners; and telemedicine. The benefits include improved public health, better workflows and lower operating costs. Furthermore, technologies such as 3D printing and nanotechnology, biometrics and sensors, and cognitive computing via artificial intelligence are allowing for major changes to the delivery, treatment and reimbursement of care to occur.
The driver behind health technology is with applying organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives (as defined by the World Health Organization.) Many companies are occupying the health technology space and the impact of this, according to Business Insider, is having a “ripple effects across the entire healthcare system, impacting incumbents and new entrants alike.”
Some examples of promising and disruptive digital health technologies include:
Disease detection
Trypanosoma cruzi  the parasite responsible for Chagas disease.
Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease.
Tcruzi IFA positive
Scanning technologies can help medics to identify diseases more quickly and thus to administer treatments earlier. An example is with a new generation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners which use multicolored light for improved sensitivity and detection. A new technique from Case Western Reserve University School deploys two colors simultaneously, which allows medics to map the internal organs from a single scan, thereby reducing the need to run multiple scans.
Artificial intelligence
Screen shot of the sun taken using NASA SDO multispectral imaging in September  2011.
Screen shot of the sun taken using NASA SDO multispectral imaging in September, 2011.
NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
AI can assist with the complexity and growth of medical data, including data collected data from patients. According to Forbes, the types of benefits of artificial intelligence-enabled solutions include automated disease prediction, personalization of treatment pathways and intuitive claims management. A leading player in this area is Apple, who are investing in technologies for patient monitoring, handling health records, data collection in clinical trials and real-world studies, and providing after-care to hospital patients.
Health literacy
File photo: Nurses walk in a corridor on September 20  2013 at Lens  hospital
File photo: Nurses walk in a corridor on September 20, 2013 at Lens' hospital
Philippe Huguen, AFP/File
As reported by Digital Journal, more people can take charge of their own health and repeat benefits like lower insurance rates; however, doing so requires improved health literacy. An example of increasing this literacy comes from Novus Health, who have entered into a partnership with the iA Financial Group to provide group insurance clients the tools to understand their own health. The technology also provides advice for pursuing fitness and wellness.
Telemedicine
The Ambra app is action.
The Ambra app is action.
Ambra health
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance. Telemedicine and telehealth are transforming the way that healthcare is delivered, providing access to remote areas. Studies examining telemedicine and other approaches to patient management show the greatest benefits lie with teleradiology, telemental health, telecardiology (echocardiography in particular), home telecare and teledermatology.
Omics
The South Kensington Science Museum actually has an example of a genome sequence on display. As you ...
The South Kensington Science Museum actually has an example of a genome sequence on display. As you can see there is a huge amount of information in the genetic structure of each living being. Some believe this may hold the key to fighting aging.
George Gastin
Omics is an emerging field of genetic technology. The range of genetic technology applications is connected to genomics, proteomics or metabolomics. The omics areas showing the greatest promise include genetic, cellular and alternative therapies; sequencing technologies; and genetically altered animals and plants. This data driven field has the potential to aid disease detection and drug discovery.
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