New Year’s resolution: staying healthy the digital way

Nowadays, when we fall sick, we are not just patients anymore. Our journey through the healthcare system has been transformed into a customer experience. The digital transformation of the healthcare industry promises us longer lives of better quality. Let’s see exactly how we can turn feeling ill to feeling well, the digital way.

Prevention prevails

The most significant advancement of digitized healthcare is the shift to a focus on prevention instead of treatment. Digital technology empowers us, the patients, to take matters into our own hands. So that’s what we do, don’t we? We keep a plethora of apps on our phones for staying healthy as long as possible. There are apps to track our sleeping patterns, the nutritional values of foods, our heart rate, our gut health. We are proud of our scores in our favourite sport and can always rely on an app for motivation to move.

We also feel good because we are saving precious resources for the healthcare system. If apps motivate us to drink enough water, remind us to take vitamins, teach us to brush our teeth better, a lot of problems will never arise. That means more doctor and nurse time for those who really need it.

A faster way to diagnosis

But one day, the unimaginable happens. Despite all our efforts, we get sick or hurt or simply feel uncomfortable in our bodies. Thank goodness, Dr. Google is always there to help. After all, who wants to spend endless hours in waiting rooms? Even though we might be a little worried or even scared sometimes. But that’s when technology comes to the rescue: we can book an online consultation with a real live doctor! And it often turns out that we came to the wrong conclusion, not a professional diagnosis. Now we can have all kinds of remote tests done: blood, hair composition, DNA. Our doctor can provide us with a proper digital interpretation of those results. Or rerun the tests: growing computing power now makes bioinformatics, computational genomics, digital imaging possible and helps us get a diagnosis sooner. Digital analytics also suggest which treatment would be the most beneficial.

Digital treatment

In no time, we have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Our busy doctors and nurses can now go and treat other patients while we set out on our journey of healing or simply improving our quality of life. In fact, digital healthcare saves the most resources in the treatment of chronic conditions. By replacing appointments and regular check-ups at surgeries and clinics, asthma, diabetes, or cardiac arrhythmia symptoms and medications can be treated remotely with the help of hardware and software. We can also save trips to the pharmacy: prescriptions are already being handled by several online pharmacies that ship the drugs to our doorsteps. Doctors now simply have the task of regularly checking the data provided by digital tools and only meet us in person when something out of the ordinary happens. That way they can put the pieces of the puzzle together better than when they see us only once every three months. And if we were still to find ourselves in an emergency and have to be taken to the hospital, at least we’ll be surrounded by numerous screens soothing us with their calming blue lights.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

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