Home Health The medicine of the future is digital: apps and tools for the transition

The medicine of the future is digital: apps and tools for the transition

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The medicine of the future is digital: apps and tools for the transition

The telemedicine it is evolving very rapidly and is transforming into digital and virtual healthcare.

I benefits of this approach are immediately understandable, not only on an economic level – the market for digital therapies is now worth approximately 3.5 billion dollars and it is expected to grow about 20% annually over the next five to ten years – but also because of the possibility of to change the approach to diagnosis and treatment of diseases on a large scale.

Digital Health: what it is and which applications allow you to steer healthcare towards a new normal

The devices that help the transition to digital health

Many people, for example, undergo an annual routine check. In this check the doctors make a thorough check anamnesis, reconstruct the family history of patients, usually check blood pressure, heart rate, analyze the results of the main analyzes that can be carried out with a blood sample and discuss any further preventive screenings and recommend healthy lifestyle habits. With telemedicine all this becomes much simpler and less expensive. Using the tools of telemedicine to develop a virtual and digital health system can therefore be a way to optimize and make more efficient the practice of routine medical visits. Firstly, because the costs of physical patient travel can be reduced and a personalized and continuous patient monitoring system can be achieved.

Smart sensors and healthcare: what types of support for drug therapies?

Some innovative devices can help the transition to digital and virtual healthcare.

In a recent analysis, research firm IQVIA identified 384 wearable devices. These are wrist fitness trackers, sports watches, smart watches, smart jewelry and headphones with sensors, patches, bands, clip-ons, and even clothes.

The Oura ring, for example, it looks like a classic wedding band, except for a faint green light that flashes intermittently. In reality, the inside of the ring is full of electronic devices, LEDs of different colors and various sensors, a battery and a 3D accelerometer. As the heart pumps blood through the body, the vessels expand and contract and the reflected light changes accordingly. The number of these changes per minute represents the heart rate or pulse. The calculation is done by an algorithm that takes into account the data provided by the sensors and corrects the signal noise caused by movement, ambient light and numerous other external factors.

Many telemedicine applications are starting to use and communicate with fitness applications, for example, to collect step count and heart rate information directly from an individual’s devices. Fitness tools, such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit, that help track movement and heart rate have become hugely popular. Following this trail, many tech companies are experimenting with wearables that get smaller and smaller and are capable of collect ever more accurate data on our health.

The development of these devices will allow in the future to obtain a more complete view of a person’s lifestyle and, combined with the development of individual electronic health recordit can help create a clearer picture of your current health.

The use of big data and AI: predictive medicine

The growing range of health variables tracked by wearables can lead to major changes in the prevention of chronic ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. Continuous measurement will then allow us to establish what are the normal patterns for an individual with regards to heart rate or breathing. This will help users and their doctors recognize important lifestyle deviations in advance, before a disease develops. But convincing patients to change is not easy and for this reason devices, even intelligent ones, are not enough. With the” use of big data and artificial intelligence it is possible to build a medicine based on what is not evident for the single human doctor, but that can become evident with the use of big data and deep learning techniques as it is able to consider and process much more information than is possible for a human being.

Today with the use of big data in healthcare and deep learning techniques we are able to make effective predictive and preventive medicine long before the onset of symptoms and for chronic and worsening diseases this is a considerable advantage. Instant access to the entire data set makes it possible to predict the evolution of the clinical picture through supportive decision-making algorithms that make the entire process more efficient. All this is achieved by emphasizing the constructivist nature of the process, aimed at bringing a considerable advantage to all stakeholders interested in the individual’s care and assistance process.

Towards a new diagnostic-assistance model

The diagnostic-assistance model also based on the electronic health record customized, will be able to respond to requests for increasingly effective, efficient and quality diagnostic, prognosis and treatment services for the patient whose trade-off between service level and implementation costs can be mitigated thanks to the application of innovative technologies, systems and procedures for managing the clinical process according to an e-Health Service Management logic.

The creation of the electronic health record that is continuously enriched with the monitoring of remotely detected values ​​contributes to make many pathologies diagnosable at a very early stage, identify risk situations, remotely manage assistance and treatment.

The monitoring of the state of health, the prevention of critical situations and the support of daily activities therefore represent an emerging application field at the health level, with particular reference to frail people, the elderly and with chronic diseases.

The therapeutic apps

But digital and virtual healthcare can be completed with i digital therapists, that is, with apps that take the place of the doctor. For example, you can think of an artificial intelligence algorithm that monitors the patient’s body as it moves, so as to know when a joint hurts or the back is stiffer than the day before. This therapeutic app, developed by Kaia Health, a German startup, is, by many parameters, just as good as a human therapist. One study, involving 552 exercises from osteoarthritis patients, found that doctors agreed with the exercise corrections suggested by Kaia’s app.

Therapy apps can be divided into three levels.

  • The first level is that of apps that help diabetes patients and other chronic illnesses to manage mundane activities, such as taking medications, increased movement, adequate nutrition, or measuring blood sugar.
  • The second level consists of the digital therapies to manage cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • The third level allows you to modify the progression of a disease altering underlying biological mechanisms, such as rebuilding neural connections in the brain.

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