Digital Health State of the Nation

The challenge is now, the Big Bang Disruption has just begun.

by Giulia Vento

Digital Health State of the Nation
Digital Health State of the Nation

Big Bang Disruption.
In regard to this, about fifteen years ago the Canadian astronomer Jim Peebles said: “That the universe is expanding and cooling is the essence of the big bang theory. You will notice I have said nothing about an ‘explosion’ – the big bang theory describes how our universe is evolving, not how it began.”
Let’s try again.
Big Bang Disruption. By extension, Disruptive Evolution.
That sounds more like it.
You may be wondering what the evolutionary model of the universe has to do with health. The answer has just been given: Disruptive Innovation.
An overwhelming convergence of healthcare and technology is radically transforming healthcare since a factor which is not exactly genetic – namely technology – has begun to impact our health, as already did income and social status, education, health systems and social care networks. But with the difference that technology is doing it at an incredible speed, at a hectic pace.
Healthcare: Disruptive Innovation. Healthcare: Digital Health.
Now, that sounds right.

The real world is dominated by low-cost devices that offer products and services that help simplify and enhance our experience as consumers and as people.
Digital technologies are now part of the fabric of life itself, they create new needs, satisfy existing ones. And healthcare is no exception. With virtually immediate effects new devices act on health, allowing us to do things considered impossible until recently, “wonderful” things: devices for monitoring health parameters (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.); t-shirts with ICG sensors that promptly alert on the risk of a heart attack requiring only outpatient surgery; applications for the proper administration of therapy, reminding patients to take their medication, monitoring the effectiveness and side effects of a treatment; a video sent to the other side of the world to analyze the symptoms and request a diagnosis.
These are some examples illustrating how health care is becoming simpler, education and medical science are finding new channels, the dissemination of information on new treatments is becoming quicker, distances shorter, health perception is evolving.

Until a few years ago the applications aimed at digital health could be counted on the fingers of one hand; today there are at least a hundred and the number is expected to rise quickly and relentlessly, even on a weekly basis.
Consumerism has finally reached health, sharing has imbued its functioning logic. Think of the availability of devices for use by doctors and patients, and think of the amount of data and information exchanged by users and which can be traced and gathered by health systems. Also think that the more the devices are integrated, the more the quantity and quality of the information is increased.
And we ourselves, as patients, will be the architects of all this: we will collect data about ourselves over time, we will build our own medical records, send our information and ask our questions to an automated system that will answer remotely and in real time. And we will do all this simply with our smartphone. It will be like moving from one hospital to another bringing with us our medical history, like seeing a specialist easily, like having our physician available anytime, anywhere. You must admit you would never have imagined carrying your doctor in your pocket!

In short, the healthcare system in the coming years will be completely different from what we have known so far. Wherever we are and at low cost, we will be able to access it in a much simpler way than in the past. Presumably in a not-too-distant future even spaces will change, becoming more accessible and welcoming. Presumably, going to hospital will not be much different than going to the supermarket.
A disruptive evolution is sweeping the health market. It is high time that each of us and the healthcare stakeholders prepare themselves, that they be ready to face the profound innovation, that they not fall behind.
The challenge is now, the Big Bang Disruption has just begun.

This is the opening piece introducing the booklet of the inspirational insights from the FrontiersX Conference, that will be published very soon. Stay tuned!

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