Digital Health is a broad term that encompasses healthcare, living, and social technologies. Its goal is to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery and medicine. This technology is a growing sector within digital health and offers many benefits. Some of these are:
The introduction of digital health solutions has shifted the focus from treating the disease to improving the patient-provider ecosystem. In many rural areas and low-income neighborhoods, many people are compelled to travel long distances to see a health care professional. Some don’t have reliable access to transportation, worsening their health. However, digital health apps have made it easier to maintain physical distance and stay informed. It offers health alerts in multiple languages.
The healthcare system in Kenya is struggling to cope with increasing demand and burgeoning costs. Its shortcomings include inefficient care, inconsistent quality, and poor coordination. A key concern for policymakers is the bulging healthcare budget because healthcare spending is an important determinant of access. Cost-reduction strategies have been largely ineffective. However, technological advances in the healthcare industry offer hope for reducing healthcare costs.
The most significant savings from telehealth come from a lower out-of-pocket cost per visit. One study found that telehealth visits cost an average of $79 compared to $146 per office visit. It includes the cost of lost time and travel. Many studies found telehealth to be more efficient than traditional care compared to in-person care. In addition, patients can also save time and money due to the absence of travel costs.
Reduces medication errors
The development of new digital health tools can help reduce the likelihood of error, a significant issue given the rapidly rising costs and increasing expectations of health care. The number of medical errors is much higher than many imagine, with one out of ten patients in Latin America experiencing inappropriate treatment. By using these technologies, healthcare professionals can ensure the quality of care, minimize the risk of error and improve patient satisfaction. As a bonus, using these technologies can reduce medical costs and the risk of adverse effects.
Medical errors are the leading cause of injury and harm in our health care system. According to the WHO, medication errors cost the U.S. health system around USD 42 billion yearly. In addition to the cost of healthcare, medication-related errors cause significant psychological distress for patients. However, many of these estimates are based on studies and technology that were conducted 20 years ago. The advent of digital health technology has made it possible to reduce these errors significantly and improve patient safety.
Improves access to doctors
Digital platforms enable physicians to prioritize patients better than they see in-office, streamline workflows, and track outcomes. Instead of waiting in long lines, specialists can schedule appointments online and avoid the lengthy check-in process. These integrated systems also minimize regulatory burdens and gridlock. Digital platforms also enable doctors to provide better patient care by providing access to providers and teams of medical professionals through a digital platform. In the coming years, they will likely use digital health tools to reduce patient wait times and improve patient care quality.
Moreover, digital health solutions are designed to engage patients and make them co-design their care. They can log important health factors in real time and present a clear profile of a patient’s condition to physicians. As a result, patients are more likely to get the care they need. And this is the next frontier in improving access to health care. But before embracing digital health platforms, physicians must learn the needs of those who are underserved today.
Many digital health products aren’t yet regulated but benefit from regulatory approval. While gaining regulatory approval can provide credibility and market access, it can also entail significant effort to maintain. Any changes to software or system components may require a new regulatory submission. As such, some digital health businesses choose not to pursue regulatory approval. Instead, they focus on other considerations, such as privacy issues and cost. These challenges are often unavoidable.