Data, objects, visualization: the rise of digital therapy

by Elena Pirofalo

Data, objects, visualization: the rise of digital therapy
Data, objects, visualization: the rise of digital therapy

It seems to me that when I hear and read about digital healthcare innovations and technologies the recurring words are “human” and “people”.

Compared to a few years ago when we used to talk about interfaces, technology, when we thought we would all become cyborgs, what I sense today is that we are still talking about interfaces, but those are designed and built to empower and augment humans: from quantified self to wellness, from diagnosis to treatment, from prevention to patient-physician relationship.

Digital technologies are enabling humans to follow the transformation that those innovations are revolutionizing in all industries, including healthcare, through the increasing adoption of digital health solutions, such as mobile health, apps, wearables, Internet of Things, online communities, sensor technologies, telemedicine, electronic medical records and other wireless technologies.

The human being has always been at the center of innovation technologies, however, the shift I sense is happening is deeper and seems to be connected with the increased level of integration of those technologies in our lives, it is becoming “organic” like behavior, a genetic trait, a disease.

This is what we mean by transformation at Healthware International. In fact, we are witnessing the augmented educational experience of a video which – enhanced by the addition of a complete multicontent experience like Videum.com, the healthcare global video portal – is experimenting with Shaa, the platform which provides interactive solutions to videos. Or to the rise of digital pharma companies like Sonormed, the creator of Tinnitracks, the software that supports the treatment of tinnitus. Or to how images and the Internet of Things can augment the quantified self experience with Narrative, a camera that records the moments of our day, tracking how much time we spend with our families or at work, and giving us feedback about the quality of our relationships simply by analyzing the expressions of the faces of those who spend time with us.

The democratization of digital health solutions has a major role in this transformation.

Jeff Dachis, after having been diagnosed type 1 diabetes, started to look for support tools, but found himself having to deal with a fragmented management system of the disease. Jeff experienced first-hand the sense of the transformation that is happening: the shifting of disease management from physicians to patients. He decided to become a key player of this shift by creating OneDrop, an app for the management of diabetes, and a support community empowering patients in taking care of themselves through the management of their own data (data-driven self-care).

OneDrop users love this app and its glucometer, which was designed as a lifestyle product, and those users are changing the perception of diabetes within an active and supportive community, but most importantly it is free in the United States, if one owns a health insurance.

Jeff has created the ideal setting for the flourishing of a new model of interaction: the crowd-sourced health. Patients will be more and more empowered in the management of diseases and in the support of other people with same disease. This is the evolution of the online community, it becomes the cure itself. And because dematerialisation and digitalisation ensure democratisation, there will be better health, affordable for everyone.

Healthcare stakeholders will need to embrace this transformation, by establishing solid connections with startups and innovation, aiming not only at offering drugs, but also outcomes, diagnostics, digital solutions.

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