Digital health offers patient’s healthcare tools and innovations to better understand and manage their overall health better. Great examples include health-based smart watches, artificial intelligence (AI), telehealth, telemedicine and more.
Fitbit and Apple Watch are two of the most popular smartwatches on the market today focusing on your overall health. Between calculating the number steps taken each day and encouraging its user to stand up, walk and meditate, these devices are also becoming more and more consistent in heart rate monitoring.
In November of 2018, CNET reported on a 34-year old man who’s Fitbit Ionic watch alerted him of a heart rate that was half its normal average. He was having a heart attack. Thankfully, by wearing his smartwatch, he was able to identify a very severe problem before it got fatally worse.
While smartwatches like this cannot promise to save lives, they are consistently evolving into more reliable technology.
In September of 2018, an FDA-cleared EKG feature was introduced into the Series 4 Apple Watch and first went into use on December 6, 2018. This was the first direct-to-consumer product enabling its users to take an electrocardiogram right from their smartwatch.
This groundbreaking technology also monitors signs of AFIb, one of the most common health conditions resulting in a stroke.
AI is quickly becoming a technology used to empower healthcare systems in a multitude of ways. While data privacy is a constant concern, government, technology and healthcare providers are going out of their way to ensure the safety and security of AI advances
One of the most up and coming ways AI is making its way into healthcare is through virtual nursing assistants. It’s projected that this technology could bring the healthcare system an annual $20 billion in savings.
The current goal for virtual nurses is to provide better communication between patients and medical staff between medical visits.
AI technology also aides to streamline the workflow between administrators and medical offices, aide in the diagnosis of patients, image analysis and even to assist in robotic surgery.
Over half of all hospitals in the United States have began implementing some form of telemedicine.
This safe practice abides by the same clinical guidelines offered within the other medical offices. The American Telemedicine Association has developed additional guidelines and best practices to ensure providers are being responsible with such a service. Not only is telemedicine technology safe, it’s a cost effective way to deliver health care.
Telemedicine is gaining popularity in the healthcare system with its use to treat sports injuries at a more affordable cost. A study from the Nemours Children’s Health System found a savings of $24 per patient, on average, through telemedicine.
Additionally, telemedicine has been a largely supported through the VA Anywhere-to-Anywhere program. Providing such a service enables the practitioners with the VA network to connect with veterans in any state. Giving veterans easy, accessible care is certainly well-deserved.
Digital health is a revolutionary way to bridge the gap between personal health and medical attention. As we see an increase in the use of such technology, we’re anxious to see where the next wave of innovation takes the medical industry.
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