As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen growth within our culture and society in more ways than one. Because of social distancing and quarantine, many companies and industries needed to find a way to ensure people could still use their products and resources regardless of circumstance. Whether through Zoom, DoorDash, or social media, people can get all the help they need from the comfort of their own homes. The greatest of these developments came from the realm of healthcare. Whether you were self-isolating, running short on time, or a stressed and struggling parent, finding a way to get reliable health care that saves you money and time was hard. However, with the new development of digital diagnostics, people are finding it easier than ever to find healthcare, with the added ability to speak with physicians on the phone, wherever they may be.
What are Digital Diagnostics?
The World Health Organization defines digital health technology as “the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life.” In simple terms, digital diagnostics is the combination of healthcare and technology.
Digital health technologies are a result of the identification of problems in healthcare. Whether it be extensive wait times, overpriced treatment costs, or lack of time availability, there are many reasons a person may have that prevent them from seeing a specialist. Because of this, many ailments have gone undiagnosed or unnoticed, causing further permanent damage to a patient. In addition to this comes the economic aspect, where members of lower socioeconomic status might not even know of reliable or affordable healthcare.
These issues helped birth the integration of online and digital applications into the healthcare system. In doing so, healthcare accessibility is made easy. Whether using a phone or computer, patients can now use online resources to receive diagnoses or communicate with qualified physicians.
Improving Patient-Physician Connections
By introducing technology in the healthcare field, patients feel as though they are more involved in making decisions about their health. Even if patients do not want to make decisions themselves, technology makes it easier for doctors to share available options. Having digital diagnostics creates a forum for generating healthy communication, making it more accessible to discuss benefits, risks, costs of treatment options, and more. The added use of digital health technologies can also improve doctor-patient agreements.
Studies show that patient compliance has significantly increased by adding the perceived quality of internet health information to a patient’s decision-making preference and their agreement with their physician. Patients now feel more open to communicating with and informing their doctors about their health conditions. From there, it also increases their willingness to explore potential treatment options.
Digital Healthcare for Children
As digital healthcare technologies have expanded, they’ve become more easily accessible to various demographics. The most significant of these would be its impact on children’s health. Two forms of these advancements can be seen within children’s digital health care: biometric health and media applications.
Biomedical health screenings typically occur in offices, where physicians test patients for changes in their general health. This could include exams like bloodwork and height, weight, and blood pressure measurements. However, technical advancements could be applied to biometric health, making this process easier and more accurate in identifying changes. Typically, biometric tracking can be done through a wearable monitor (like a watch or bracelet) that actively measures incoming data. This data can then be transferred to pediatricians to identify potential irregularities. Biometric health makes it easier to identify issues and take preventative measures early on.
Media applications have also kickstarted a boom in integrating child input in healthcare. Commonly, it’s through using phone apps that educate children on different health concepts while making it feel like a game. Children can learn more about the various changes their body is going through, and if they feel as though something is off or if something’s not right, they have a good understanding and feel more comfortable and confident telling their parents. Apps have also been developed to assist parents in identifying problems in their children. New apps, like Kids Vision Check, create a way to identify issues using AI technology. From there, parents can receive a diagnosis and seek treatment, or they can use the information the app gives them and send it to their chosen pediatrician for further consideration.
Why Digital Diagnostics are so Important
The boom of technology integration within healthcare comes with a boom in technological advancements. Introducing digital diagnostics to patients creates a better relationship between physicians and patients. Digital diagnostics not only allows doctors to have more open communication about the risks and benefits of treatments (mitigating misunderstanding), but it also allows patients to feel they have a better hold on their health. Furthermore, introducing digital diagnostics to children promotes healthier initiatives and more preventable measures against common childhood diseases.