Technology has woven itself into the very fabric of our lives, so it comes as no surprise that the realm of healthcare has undergone a monumental transformation. With the relentless march of the digital age, a new protagonist has emerged: the empowered digital patient. As the world battles the aftershocks of a global pandemic, the need for innovative healthcare solutions has reached an unprecedented crescendo. Enter the realm of healthcare digital solutions, the vanguard of this revolution, offering a transformative experience that transcends traditional boundaries.
Gone are the days of passive healthcare consumption, where patients were mere spectators in their own well-being. Today, a seismic shift is underway, fueled by the convergence of advanced technologies, changing user expectations, and the urgency to secure our collective health. As we navigate these uncharted waters, understanding the metamorphosis of digital healthcare becomes imperative.
Join us as we navigate the transformative journey, exploring the profound changes that have reshaped the healthcare landscape in recent years, and uncover why embracing digital health solutions is no longer a choice, but a necessity.
The digital healthcare metamorphosis
Undoubtedly the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the traditional ways of delivering and accessing healthcare services and has accelerated the adoption and innovation of digital technologies that can enable more efficient, convenient, and personalized care.
The iQVIA 2021 Digital Health Report showed that “more than 90,000 new digital health applications (apps) were added to app stores in 2020—that’s an average of more than 250 new apps every day.” That’s a game changer.
Fast forward to the present time, Statista announces that mhealth or the mobile health market, has currently more than 350,000 downloadable apps, plus wearables and digital medical consultations via chat or video, that are still growing exponentially. The Google Play Store alone has over 54,000 healthcare and medical apps available as of November 2022. At the same time, GlobalData reports the Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) market to be valued at $585.5 million in 2022 and growing to $760 million in 2030.
The digital healthcare industry has not just expanded in numbers of apps or platforms and obviously investment, but also in variations. It is not just about getting treated, chatting with your doctor, or filling a prescription.Today’s digital health solutions expand their expertise into areas like wellness, nutrition, sport, monitoring your daily steps, and programming a healthier way of living each day. It’s gone beyond the classical way of looking at health and it constantly tries to encapsulate more and more elements that are seen as a “way of living a better and healthier life.”
It’s fair to say that nowadays digital patients are interested in a myriad of elements and have a more diverse and demanding set of requests which automatically influence the way they engage with a digital health solution and consider it to be “good” or “bad”. The companies that are in the digital health business are facing challenges like never before, but the positives (if they get it right) are enormous.
The digital patient’s (great) expectations
What does the client want? What does the client need? The forever questions. When it comes down to what digital patients want and need, the answers might differ because in the end each patient, each end-user, each person has his own mind and particularities.
However, we did manage to gather together a list of the most important aspects that digital patients are paying attention to while interacting with a digital healthcare solution.
1. Seamless access to care
Patients need to feel empowered with convenience. They need to establish a connection with their healthcare providers, granting them the ability to reach their health-related information and avail healthcare services at their convenience, from any location, and using any device. This encompasses various functionalities such as online messaging, booking appointments, seeking answers from providers, managing billing, participating in virtual consultations, and even retrieving specific medical test results.
2. Personalized healthcare
Each digital patient is unique and has different needs, thus tailoring solutions to match individual needs is mandatory. Patients in the digital age require health information, education, and support that is customized to their individual data, requirements, preferences, and objectives. This encompasses self-management tools like symptom assessment tools, medication notifications, health monitoring devices, and feedback mechanisms, all of which aid them in tracking and enhancing their overall health and wellness.
3. Empathy in the digital realm
The human touch is something digital patients are longing for, and a digital health solution needs to find a way of conveying it. Digital patients require empathy to address their emotional needs and concerns during their healthcare journey. Sometimes that journey is very confusing, difficult as well as stressful. Being able to create a connection with the patient and maintain it throughout his journey is mandatory.
4. My data, my persona, my health
In a grand era of numerous data leakages, digital patients need to be assured that their data is secured and cared for. Especially since we are talking about very sensible and personal data. They ask for their data to be secure, private, and used in an ethical and transparent manner, and that they have control over their data sharing and consent preferences.
Navigating the digital health ecosystem
At a closer look, we can’t but acknowledge that the digital health solutions ecosystem is characterized by its remarkable diversity, encompassing a wide spectrum of innovative tools, platforms, and devices. Below, we’ve gathered one of the most popular and adaptable-to-change ways of bringing together medicine and patients.
Telemedicine Platforms: Telemedicine has witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity, enabling patients to consult healthcare professionals remotely through video calls or online chats. Platforms such as Teladoc, Amwell, and Doctor On Demand have emerged as leaders in this space, providing convenient and accessible healthcare services.
At QUALITANCE we’ve also built a telemedicine platform for the Romanian market, with two major components: the service component – which enables patients to find a doctor of their choice, book virtual appointments, get a diagnostic, prescriptions and recommendation; the community component – almost like a social media platform where pharma companies can publish and promote their latest findings in the field and engage with the end-users.
Health and wellness apps: Mobile applications focused on health and wellness have gained significant traction. Apps like MyFitnessPal, Headspace, and Fitbit offer personalized fitness tracking, meditation, sleep monitoring, and nutrition guidance, empowering individuals to take charge of their well-being.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) devices: RPM devices allow healthcare providers to remotely monitor patients’ health conditions outside of traditional medical settings. Examples include wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers, as well as specialized medical devices that monitor vital signs, such as blood pressure, glucose levels, and ECG readings.
Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems: EHR systems have revolutionized the way patient information is stored and accessed. Solutions like Epic Systems, Cerner, and Allscripts digitize medical records, enabling seamless sharing of patient data among healthcare providers, enhancing coordination and continuity of care.
Digital therapeutics: Digital therapeutics are evidence-based software applications that aim to prevent, manage, or treat a medical condition. Examples include apps like Pear Therapeutics’ reSET, which assists in treating substance use disorder, and Kaia Health’s app, which provides digital therapy for chronic pain management.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots: AI-powered chatbots, like Buoy Health and Ada, utilize natural language processing and machine learning to provide personalized health assessments and recommendations. These chatbots offer users a convenient and accessible way to gather preliminary information about their symptoms and potential treatment options.
As we conclude our exploration into the digital patient revolution, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the future of healthcare lies within the realms of digital solutions. The transformative power of technology has ushered in an era where patients are no longer passive recipients but active participants in their own care. The pandemic served as a catalyst, accelerating the adoption of digital healthcare solutions and reshaping the expectations of patients worldwide.
Embracing these innovations is no longer a luxury, but a vital imperative for a healthier, more connected future. So, join us as we embark on this extraordinary journey, where the digital patient reigns supreme and the possibilities are limitless. Welcome to the dawn of a new era in digital healthcare services. Welcome to the digital patient revolution!