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Digital health involves the application of information and communications technology to improve the delivery of healthcare services, prevent disease, and improve quality of life. Digital health data includes data from mobile health apps, electronic health records (EHRs), electronic medical records (EMRs), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine. Medical transcription services contribute to the documentation and digitization of patient records, enabling seamless integration with digital health platforms and supporting various aspects of modern healthcare delivery. Digital health records allow healthcare providers to access a patient’s complete medical history, including previous diagnoses, treatments, allergies, and medications. This comprehensive information helps doctors make more informed decisions, reducing the chances of medical errors due to incomplete or inaccurate information.
Reasons for the Rising Importance of Digital Health
Digital health is playing an increasingly important role in health care today. Grandview Market estimates that the global digital health market size, which was valued at USD 211.0 billion in 2022, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6% from 2023 to 2030. The key factors driving the growth of the market include the widespread adoption of smartphones, enhanced internet connectivity facilitated by the emergence of 4G and 5G technologies, advancements in healthcare IT infrastructure, the increasing importance of controlling healthcare expenditures, the rising incidence of chronic illnesses, and increasing availability of virtual healthcare services.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes: “From mobile medical apps and software that support the clinical decisions doctors make every day to artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital technology has been driving a revolution in hea1lth care. Digital health tools have the vast potential to improve our ability to accurately diagnose and treat disease and to enhance the delivery of health care for the individual.”
Digital health technologies help providers reduce inefficiencies, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality and make medicine more personalized for patients, according to the FDA. At the same time, digital health technologies like smartphones, social networks, and internet applications enable patients and consumers to monitor and track their well-being and gain increased access to information. Advances in AI, big data, robotics and machine learning are also bringing about major changes in digital healthcare. These advancements are bringing individuals, data, technology, and connectivity together, ultimately enhancing healthcare and its outcomes.
Illustrating digital health success, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) pioneered the Digital Health Translation and Implementation Program (DHTI). This initiative united clinicians, researchers, and digital health specialists, embracing an evidence-based, streamlined approach to healthcare enhancement. The program seamlessly engaged frontline clinical innovators, collaborating with DHTI experts to devise and deploy digital solutions that target healthcare system challenges. This journey has yielded invaluable insights into crafting, assessing, and incorporating digital interventions, showcasing an impactful model for driving healthcare evolution (www.frontiersin.org).
8 Ways Digital Health Data Improves Quality of Care
Digital health technologies make it possible to extend care to the home, enhance chronic disease management, allow for rehabilitation supervision, and curb unnecessary re-hospitalization. Digital health data has the potential to significantly improve the quality of care in several ways:
- 1. Comprehensive patient information for informed decision making: The digital health records that medical transcription companies create allow healthcare providers to access a patient’s complete medical history, including test results, previous diagnoses, treatments, allergies, and medications. This comprehensive information helps physicians make more informed decisions, reducing the chances of medical errors due to incomplete or inaccurate information.
- 2. Real-time monitoring of health: Real-time monitoring devices and apps collect patient vital signs, digital social and behavioral data, and patient-reported measures like quality of life. Remote monitoring tools can track various vital signs (ECG, heart rate, etc.) alongside activity data, enabling continuous real-time physiological insights for clinicians, allowing them to make meaningful inferences quickly.
Hospitals employ AI-powered tools for real-time patient tracking, aiding doctors in treatment. This digital data aids education, surgery visualization, and disease simulation. Prompt analysis of results prompts adjustments to lower risks, improve health, or mitigate environmental issues. Instant patient data from apps helps doctors swiftly address concerns, vital for emergencies.
- 3. Enables leveraging of data analytics: Aggregated and anonymized health data analysis uncovers patterns for improved diagnosis and treatment insights. Real-time inputs like EHRs, monitoring devices, fitness trackers, patient assessments, and social factors aid this. Machine learning spots early disease signs, allowing proactive action. Robust analytics merge data for comprehensive health understanding at all levels — from individuals to groups of patients with the same diagnosis to entire communities. Such exploration of larger datasets benefits patient health, care practices, and medical research.
- 4. Supports coordination of care: Digital health systems facilitate better coordination among various healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care, such as primary care physicians, specialists, and pharmacists. In healthcare, seamless connectivity across all aspects is essential for holistic improvement. Digital technology enhances care coordination and patient outcomes. Efficient communication benefits healthcare professionals, preventing complications from missed information. Knowing patient compliance aids predictions and confidence in care. Digital coordination eradicates gaps in communication, reduces duplication of tests, enhances communication, and ensures a more holistic approach to healthcare.
- 5. Enables remote monitoring: Wearable devices, mobile apps, and digital health platforms enable remote monitoring and tracking of patients’ vital signs. The rise in elderly population with chronic diseases and limited healthcare resources drives remote monitoring adoption. The ability to monitor vital signs such as blood sugar and heart function remotely supports chronic disease treatment, post-surgery recovery, and elderly care. Healthcare providers can intervene if conditions worsen. Utilizing digital data enhances health outcomes and reduces hospitalization through remote monitoring. The significance of remote monitoring grew significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 6. Drives patient engagement: Patient involvement is crucial in a patient-focused plan. As per the CDC, engaged patients tend to experience better health outcomes and journeys. Digital health tools enable active patient participation. They access records, learn, set goals, and communicate with providers. Portals facilitate form completion by patients before visits from the comfort of their own homes or other locations, enhancing satisfaction and engagement.
- 7. Improves efficiency by reducing paperwork: Digital health data systems streamline administrative tasks, reducing paperwork and allowing healthcare professionals to spend more time with patients. This efficiency can lead to improved patient experiences and better utilization of resources.
- 8. Promotes data-driven decision-making: Electronic information collected from various sources such as patient records, wearable devices, medical sensors, and mobile apps enables healthcare organizations to make data-driven decisions, from resource allocation to process improvement. With digital health data, they can make decisions based on concrete information rather than relying solely on intuition or general knowledge. Data-driven decisions involve analyzing the collected digital health data to identify patterns, correlations, and trends. For example, organizations can determine which treatments are most effective for specific conditions, track patient progress over time, identify areas for improvement in healthcare delivery, and even predict potential health issues before they become serious. This results in more efficient and effective healthcare delivery.
Digital health data can also support population health management and evidence-based medicine, leading to more efficient resource allocation and more effective treatment protocols and guidelines.
Utilizing digital health data can result in elevated care quality, improved patient outcomes, enriched patient experiences, and streamlined healthcare systems. Digital health and medical transcription services are closely connected components of the healthcare sector, jointly enhancing patient care’s effective management and delivery. Collaborating with an experienced medical transcription service organization can ensure precise conversion of dictated medical reports into structured electronic text. Comprehensive and precise EHR documentation is essential to maintain a comprehensive medical history, aiding in diagnosis, treatment planning, and patient monitoring.