A few years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease – an autoimmune disease related to my thyroid that turned my own immune system against me. While the initial diagnosis was terrifying, I soon found solace in amazing innovations that allowed me to gain control over my condition. Instead of sitting on the sidelines feeling helpless, I am the one who drives my health – not my illness.
Digital insights have hardened my determination. I created a program to have complete control over my condition and make informed decisions about what to monitor and regulate, such as: B. the foods I eat and how they affect me; my movements and my sleep; and general mood patterns.
My doctor appreciated how much I studied the details and looked after my health. Together we found the right balance between diet, nutritional supplements, medication and fitness. Thanks to multiple apps that allow me to track my progress, I now know exactly what to look out for and what data to monitor.
Innovations in digital health and wellness enable patients to take care of their treatment and care themselves to an unprecedented extent. The real reward of advances in digital health lies in the feeling of relief and comfort of taking control of our conditions rather than being controlled by them. Technology equips us with all the tools and information we need to keep going, a fundamental departure from what was historically a doctor-controlled process that patients simply follow.
Insight and action
We now have FDA-cleared digital apps and therapies that allow us to remotely monitor conditions. New digital content sources and social conversations that influence our health and wellness awareness and actions are available.
These digital innovations generate huge amounts of data, but we increase their impact as we get better at distilling data into meaningful insights and actions. Patient data is aggregated and synthesized to provide better care to others with similar conditions.
Health data accelerates the path to diagnosis for patients with rare diseases that are difficult to detect, and enables informed treatment plans to be designed and implemented faster than ever before. Data is ringing early warning bells so authorities can proactively stop the spread of infectious diseases and improve overall public health.
Own the result
Technological innovation has become the backbone of advances in health and wellness. For example, electronic health record systems (EMRs, EHRs, and PHRs) have largely replaced paper filing systems and records. They give doctors quick and easy access to patient data and can view a patient’s medical history, test results and images and automatically share them with other specialists.
This functionality also helps people live healthier lives and make better wellness decisions. For example, we have portable devices that remind us to get up and walk around after we’ve been sitting for long periods of time. We have digital, networked scales that evaluate our BMI or monitor our heart rate for us while we exercise. Nokia Sleep even released a Wi-Fi connected mattress overlay that allows us to better understand our sleep quality every night.
Another significant development is digital therapeutics (DTx) – behavioral treatments used to prevent or treat diseases or disorders such as mental health, sleep disorders and ADHD in adults and children. A good example is the Sleepio app, which creates a personalized program of microsessions with step-by-step instructions for each user. Patients spend about 20 minutes a week learning how to sleep better through evidence-based techniques that change their behavior.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the rising wave of digital innovations, particularly in the telemedicine field. Apps that support the continuous and productive dialogue between doctor and patient are particularly exciting for me. Patients can begin to link their behavior and actions to the health effects and gain insights to share and discuss with their doctors.
Understand the potential downsides
Of course, telemedicine and digital health have potential downsides. While telemedicine is now mainstream and preferred by many patients over doctor visits, there have been increasing reports of excessive screen time and information overload, both of which can lead to digital fatigue and stress for doctors.
Recent research suggests that around a third of doctors are burned out, and more than half of those surveyed said their burnout symptoms increased during the pandemic.
I believe that healthcare, like any other industry, needs to constantly innovate and reinvent itself in order to remain meaningful and relevant.
It is crucial to focus on reaching out to specific patients and professionals and conveying what they need to know while taking care of their health, rather than showering a large audience with the same message over and over again.
With the help of advanced analyzes and real-time optimizations, we can quickly increase awareness and initiate meaningful dialogues about new and emerging health and wellness innovations.
Sit in the driver’s seat
Digital technologies put the consumer first when it comes to managing their health. New therapies and innovations will continue to emerge as treatments evolve and technology raise awareness and expand treatment standards.
Riding the wave of digital innovation in health and wellness means that we are clear about what insights we need and how and where we can get them so that we can identify, manage and monitor the specific things, that keep people healthy.
The information provided here is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should contact a qualified healthcare provider about your specific situation.