Pharma Focus Europe

The Impact of Digital Health Technologies on Patient Outcomes

Kate Williamson, Editorial Team, Pharma Focus Europe

Telemedicine and telecare, m-health, wearable devices, electronic health records, and big data analytics are the digital health technologies that are becoming the agents of change in the health care systems by enhancing access, self-management by patients, early disease diagnosis, fine-tuning of individual care, and reduced costs. These enhancements provide positive changes in patients’ health, safety, and chronic diseases and facilitate preventive care, besides enhancing cohesiveness among caregivers, thus changing the healthcare system.

Introduction:

It is also noteworthy that the structure of the healthcare system has shifted rather dynamically in the past few years, primarily because of the integration of digital health solutions. Such developments have not only altered the rhythm of the provision of care but also significantly increased the outcomes of the treatment. Synchronizing electronic patient records, telemedicine, wearable devices, and others, digital health is redesigning the role of patients and clinics and enhancing the quality of treatments and patients’ lives. While this article’s subject concerns the point of digital health technologies, the aim is to cover all sides and, mainly, the impact on patient release.

1. Enhanced Access to Healthcare

Among the several realized benefits that arose from the use of digital health technologies, one of them is the increased availability of health services. Telemedicine integrated applications include applications that have allowed the patients to reach health care providers for consultative services without the physical presence of long waiting queues. This is especially so in patient that come from the rural setting, or a setting that is deemed as a heath desert meaning that it is often extremely difficult to come across any health facility. Telemedicine also helps in counseling and provision of remote prescription, which is very vital when it comes to diseases and risks that are persistent in nature.

2. Improved patient engagement and self-management

Consequently, digital technologies assume social roles that require patients to be more active than was the case with traditional approaches to the delivery of health care. Mobile health and wearable technology present information on a patient’s status, like blood pressure, glucometer reading, heart rate, and even physical activity and exercise. These constant accesses aid the patients in knowing their latest health status and making better decisions with regards to their lifestyle and treatment. Also, these tools have extra components such as alerts for medications, appointments, and other features such as education and awareness and other related health articles that increase patient’s compliance with treatment protocols.

3. Enhanced Monitoring and Early Intervention

Wearable and remote monitoring systems apply to the management of patients’ health information in real-time, irrespective of the hospital environment. These enable caring professionals to regularly monitor the patients and endanger organ health complications at a very early stage. For instance, a smart wrist band may allow a doctor to monitor a patient’s heart rate and notify the doctor in case of an abnormality; this will help avoid a heart attack. Proactive monitoring offers much success when it comes to chronic illnesses that include diabetes, hypertension, and heart illnesses, since early check-ups assist in cured or managed ailments.

4. Data-Driven Personalized Care

Today, EHRs and data analytics provide the method for individualized treatment, which can be considered the result of their combination. With the help of big data solutions, patients’ experiences and outcomes analysis can detect useful patterns for diagnosing and treating patients. This has the effect of making treatment more individualized, which is due to factors that can be traced to genetic variance, lifestyle, and the patient's individual choice. Such an evidence-based approach increases both the efficacy of these treatments and the patients’ satisfaction as well.

5. Reduced healthcare costs

Over time, the utilization of digital health technologies has proven to have the benefit of lowering expenses, thereby implying that more efficient and fewer unrequired operations will be executed. Due to telemonitoring, there are fewer face-to-face visits, which in turn results in fewer travel costs and time that patients may spend at work. The necessity of remote monitoring to avoid readmissions to the hospital is that it helps identify possible complications at an early stage. Moreover, it decreases the paperwork for the health care personnel and brings effectiveness to the communication among the health care providers, so it is beneficial in utilizing the health care resources effectively.

6. Improved patient safety

Regardless of this, healthcare safety or patient safety is a crucial aspect in the medical field, and the use of technologies in the form of digital health entails a lot in boosting the safety of patients. Through the use of EHRs, healthcare providers are able to access details of patients’s health status, minimizing cases of medical errors. Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS), as a decision-support tool, helps doctors and other clinical care providers choose the right treatment plan since it provides alerts or suggests recommendations about possible drug use or consuming a particular food allergy. These technologies mitigate patient risks resulting from potentially unsafe care that could be offered to them.

7. Facilitating chronic disease management

The conditions present in this case exhibit features that can be addressed by digital health technologies by providing tools that enhance the management of these conditions. For example, in the mHealth applications, patients’ symptoms, the extent to which patients are compliant with prescriptions, and their day-to-day activities can be monitored to allow healthcare professionals to tweak the patient’s care plans. Remote monitoring devices can check patients’ status and alert providers if the condition’s parameters are off, providing early basic interventions that can help avoid re-hospitalizations.

8. Supporting mental health

Mental health is also on the receiving end when it comes to advancements in digital health technologies. Telepsychiatry and online counseling are services that are useful for people who, in many ways, cannot attend traditional office-based therapy due to their flexible schedule, stigma, or geographic location. Concerning mental health apps, they provide solutions such as stress management, anxiety, and depressive symptoms or disorder applications that include mindfulness, daily mood tracking, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Such applications can supplement the conventional approach to therapy and help the patients day and night, thereby improving their psychological health.

9. Promoting Preventive Care

Primary health care involves the rendering of preventive health care to compliment the health of those who seek it. Digital health technologies increase recognition of disease and working on the prevention rather than cure since the patient is empowered with a tool to monitor his or her health and transition to a healthier lifestyle. For instance, a tracker for physical activity motivates people to move while an application for health gives people suggestions on how they should change their diet. Some social networks can also assist patients in maintaining the dates of their immunizations, screenings, and check-ups to ensure they do not forget about their preventative health checkup appointment.

10. Fostering collaboration and communication

Interprofessional relationships are important, so organizational communication is a key component of health care. Mobile health and telehealth support patient encounters and care coordination with secure messaging, telecommunication, and organized access to the EMRs. This helps the different caregivers involved in the treatment of a patient to be aware of the patient’s health status as well as the care that is being planned and implemented so that there are no cases of disparities in the provision of care, including having to repeat some diagnostic tests or prescriptions. Engagement of all the stakeholders involved enhances the coordination and resulting caregiving processes, which in the end have the potential to enhance the quality of the treatment rendered.

Conclusion

It is quite important to emphasize that the usage of digital health technologies has a rather broad impact regarding patient outcomes. As a result, those technologies that support improved access to healthcare for patients, engage patients, allow for early intervention, customize treatment, and decrease costs while safeguarding patient safety and addressing the need to manage chronic diseases are remodeling healthcare. Thus, further advancements in digital health have the potential to catalyze enhanced patients’ satisfaction and dramatic transformations in the delivery of healthcare services. Adopting these technologies, coupled with incorporating them into our day-to-day practice, will go a long way toward improving health outcomes as we look to fashion a competent and optimally productive health system.

Kate Williamson

Kate, Editorial Team at Pharma Focus Europe, leverages her extensive background in pharmaceutical communication to craft insightful and accessible content. With a passion for translating complex pharmaceutical concepts, Kate contributes to the team's mission of delivering up-to-date and impactful information to the global Pharmaceutical community.

 

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