Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the use of digital technology in healthcare was on a steady rise; however, the pandemic has spurred rapid development of digital health technology as well as rapid adoption and utilization of that technology in the industry. Digital health holds the promise of increased accessibility to high-quality, patient-centered care that can also increase patient engagement and reduce costs. However, the full realization of this promise may be threatened by policy and regulation that is failing to keep pace with and encourage this evolution. There is no universally accepted definition of digital health. In fact, researchers studying the definition recently came across no fewer than 95 published definitions for the concept of digital health.1 There were, however, some clear patterns: there is an emphasis on how data is used to improve care; there is a focus on the provision of healthcare, rather than the use of technology; and the definitions tend to highlight the well-being of people and populations over the caring of patients with diseases. As used in this article, digital health encompasses the use of digital tools and technologies to improve and manage an individual's or a population's health and wellness.
The use of AI in telemedicine and telehealth can assist doctors in providing better services to patients by simplifying their work practices. Telemedicine is the exchange of medical information from one location to another using electronic communication. Telemedicine has proliferated in the past few years and has become an integral part of health care, penetrating public hospitals, private clinics, and even people's residences and workplaces. According to Gartner, Health delivery organizations (HDOs) are "on the threshold of a seismic change in how they will deliver clinical care and they now recognize the value of virtual care and telemedicine." The use of AI in telemedicine will play a massive role in bringing about this seismic change in healthcare.
While technologies that impede, rather than enhance care, have made the healthcare industry somewhat skeptical of innovation, a shift toward patient-centric care is changing the game. Healthtech innovations in 2019 are helping to transform the business of care, creating efficiencies, cutting costs, and providing better outcomes. How these new technologies mesh with the clinical skill set of a medical provider is still being determined. Providers who embrace tools now available will help to determine how healthcare delivery looks in 2020 and well beyond. Here's what you need to know: If you aren't offering your patients virtual visits, it's likely they'll find someone who is Virtual visits, often conducted via a smartphone or personal computer, offer convenient access to care, saving patients the time and expense of traveling to an appointment and providing care to those who have limited access to it.
Patients and their families often want continuous monitoring and care. Traditional health insurance providers are partnering with telehealth companies, to address those concerns. Anthem is working with American Well, Cigna is working with MDLive, Bupa is working with Babylon Health and Aflac is working with MeMD to deliver benefits of telehealth to it's existing customers. Health insurance providers such as Oscar Health is redefining health-insurance by building the whole customer experience around its own telehealth services. As telehealth continues to replace traditional health care, it is going to inherit some of its challenges. These include increased cost of care due to multiple vendors, complex care pathways, and government policies. However, the question that remains to be answered is will this advanced technology that we call telehealth, be able to redefine the quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world.
Sue Siegel is the CEO of GE Ventures, Licensing & Healthymagination at GE. Advanced technologies and the rapid adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) are enabling the physical world to merge with the digital, leading to explosive growth in the volume and quality of clinical data. Cognified care is the application of analytics to transform this newly available digitized clinical data into knowledge that can revolutionize healthcare (see the example of Jamie below). The emergence of smartphones and the app economy have led consumers to expect convenient, high-quality service in multiple industries -- retail, travel, education, media and entertainment, among others. This same revolution has not happened yet in healthcare, but it is imminent thanks to cognified care. The result will be a transformation of healthcare, leading to four major benefits: personalized care, a value-based system, care anywhere and improved outcomes.