The digital health era is about how information and communication technologies improve health itself, not just the traditional healthcare delivery system as has been in the prior decades. Given the ubiquitous nature of ‘digital’ in everyday life, the digital economy has transformed the economy. As in the economy, so in health. Digital health can be expected to transform health and healthcare.
Digital health is multi-disciplinary involving many stakeholders, including clinicians, researchers and scientists with a wide range of expertise in healthcare, engineering, social sciences, public health, health economics and data management.
While there are multiple phenomenon that comprise digital health, one can simplify all that it implies in to three major drivers. On the demand side patient centricity, supply side role convergence and at the process level data driven automation of decision making
Consumer side- shift of power in the hands of the user/patient: As in many other verticals, digital technologies are putting power in the hands of the ultimate user- or the patient. The most obvious sign of this is the rise of user centric medical apps and wearables as the visible market of digital health as a trend. The emergence of Telemedicine is another key trend where the patient gets medical advice from the comfort of her home.
However, what is today not visible but is deeply shaping this trend is the possible evolution of designer drugs/therapies, that are prepared with a granular segmentation of patients – sometimes resulting in a patient of one population. The genomic and bio-informatics revolutions that are heavily dependent on digital technologies and precision medicine are behind this trend.
Supplier side- breakdown of barriers to entry and role convergence: As digital gets adopted, barriers of entry get lowered and industry and role boundaries tend to disappear.
New Players that have not traditionally been part of healthcare – big tech, telcos and digital entrepreneurs- examples such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Uber and Salesforce are investing heavily in health and are not simply investing in ‘health as usual’ but are developing models of health provision that are likely to disrupt healthcare.
In addition to new players, industry boundaries themselves are dissolving, for instance health related services such as diagnostics or patient monitoring can be provided or enabled by housing and automobile (IoT’s on wheels) providers, lifestyle businesses, retailers, tourism operators, etc.
Much of the role convergence will be enabled through technology such as the use of artificial intelligence surgical robotics and tele-mentoring to enable nurses and midwives to be trained to perform some surgery.
Delivery Side: The importance of Data and AI
While healthcare has always been driven by empirical and scientific data, ubiquity of data collection at medical grade is a digital health phenomenon. Contrary to past practices, where collection of data was mainly done in clinical settings, Digital health facilitates collection of vast amounts of new health and health-relevant data be captured via sensors in home, working and civic environments, worn, implanted and ingested. Care options may be determined through enhancing expert judgment with algorithms fed by information from selective patients around the world. Support may be customized for an individual’s personal genetic information, and clinicians will need to be skilled interpreters of advanced ways to diagnose, track, and treat illnesses.
How can EPPIC help?
EPPIC could help you navigate the complex evolving landscape of digital health by providing access to quality professionals across the whole spectrum of digital health.
- Provide an Ecosystem to nurture your digital health start-up: If you are a digital health entrepreneur, and have a digital health service to offer, the biggest challenge is often to find all the stakeholders of the health ecosystem in a single place. Given the broad platform that it is, EPPIC increases the probability of your being able to put together your advisory team or find catalysts/ mentors from the various parts of the health ecosystem.
- Professional Transition from either side of the Digital health world: Digital health is the bridge that links two exciting areas: digital and health. Engineers who want to access healthcare expertise and networks for a career switch or life sciences professionals that want to deepen their understanding of technology to enhance their own professional lives will find in EPPIC the right opportunities and people to meet their goals.
- Exposure to the possibilities of technology: As a Silicon Valley based healthcare networking group, EPPIC is in a vantage position to observe the latest innovations in Digital health and bring it to its members. Our events showcase some of the cutting-edge digital health start-ups and speakers on digital health. We also have a vision for a collaborative project with our peer networking group focused on technology to foster jointly digital health initiatives.