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Why Digital Health?

Just like any other field, Healthcare organizations must embrace ICT so that information can be captured, analyzed, and reported to the stakeholders.
female doctor with smart glasses touching virtual screen medical technology
© Freepik

Why Digital Health?

Reduce Medical Errors

By using Information and Communication Technology, Digital Health can help reduce medical errors. For example, when collecting data, computers will be able to detect errors systematically, whereby different checks can be done [1]

  • Range checks – lower limit and upper limit (3.5-5.0 mEq/l)
  • Pattern checks – Hyphen, Alphanumeric, three digit
  • Compute check – a mathematical relationship
  • Delta Check – large and unlikely differences between the new value and previous observations
  • Spell check – check for typo

Digital Health also can detect any drug-drug interaction or drug-allergy interaction through the embedded decision support system. In addition, the system can use patient data and give alerts when potential harm is detected.

In one systematic review, the Automated Dispensing system (ADS) has shown a reduction of medication preparation errors in critical care settings, while another example of Digital Health Intervention, a bar code system paired with electronic administration record systems, can help to reduce medication administration errors by 50% [2]

Improve User Experience

Many works have been done in Digital Health to improve user experience. One article by Almario [3] explained the development of a mobile application that uses algorithms to understand patients’ symptoms in gastrointestinal areas. Users’ experience will be improved through home care services with the support of home monitoring and wearable devices. Having systems that are designed specifically for patients and connecting patients to the hospital system ( i.e. patient portal) will also impact the patient experience positively [4]

Increase Quality of Care

Overall, digital health intervention will increase the quality of care. Real-time data obtained from monitoring devices can be analyzed concurrently to give healthcare providers insights into making decisions.

Digital health enables easy access to data as systems can be interconnected and share data across different organizations with proper Health Information exchange networks. Furthermore, the scientific breakthrough in artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning enables data modelling and prediction, especially for personalized healthcare [5]. In personalized healthcare, patients are empowered to allow them to participate in shared decision-making based on their principles and preferences.

For healthcare to be effective and produce positive results, patient data must be collected and managed accurately. Therefore, information is a crucial component in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, management is necessary for managing healthcare, and management is ineffective without information. Consequently, it is reasonable to anticipate that these technologies will be able to handle care delivery practices with variable quality.

Additionally, there is widespread agreement that health ICTs are necessary to modernize how care is provided and quickly transform how it will be in the future. It is also essential that evidence-based research is conducted to ensure the effectiveness of Digital Health in improving health outcomes.

[1] Shortliffe, E.H. and Cimino, J.J., Eds. (2014). Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine (Fourth Edition). New York, NY, Springer.
[2] Alotaibi, Y. K., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi medical journal, 38(12), 1173–1180.
[3] Almario C. V. (2017). The Effect of Digital Health Technology on Patient Care and Research. Gastroenterology & hepatology, 13(7), 437–439.
[4] The Connection Between Digital Health and Patient Satisfaction
[5] Mohy Uddin, Shabbir Syed-Abdul (2021) Chapter 1 – Introduction to digital health approach and mHealth applications for participatory health,Editor(s): Shabbir Syed-Abdul, Xinxin Zhu, Luis Fernandez-Luque,Digital Health, Elsevier,Pages 1-6,ISBN 9780128200773
© University Malaya
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