What does the future hold for digital healthcare?

Posted on 19 Aug 2016 by Tim Brown

Within the past few years there has been a great deal of hope in regards to the role of digital healthcare as it relates to the growing shortage of medical professionals.

With both the United States and the United Kingdom reporting record shortages of doctors and nurses, something has to give. Is digital healthcare the solution? If so, how will it impact the growing shortage of medical professionals and if not, what could help solve the problem? Here are some insights from Bradley University, a leading US institution of higher education offering a DNP online study program.

Why digital healthcare in the first place?

In theory, digital healthcare offers a number of services to patients who can’t get in to see their doctors either because those healthcare facilities are short staffed or because the patient can’t afford the cost of ongoing regular appointments solely for the purpose of monitoring a chronic illness or condition. In either case, it is possible that an increase in the number of medical professionals, nurses and doctors that is, would help to relieve some of the pressure making digital healthcare a bit less important.

Empowering patients to take an active role in their treatments

Anyone with a doctorate in nursing practice can tell you just how important it is for patients to feel empowered when it comes to suffering a long-time debilitating condition or disease. Many have worked, and worked hard, all their lives and suddenly they are beset with an illness that renders them unable to function as they once had. The feeling of helplessness only worsens their condition or how they respond to it.

By utilizing wearables that are connected to their primary healthcare provider via a mobile device, these patients can now take an active role in their own treatment. They can watch their vital signs, monitor blood glucose levels and get a ‘feel’ for when it becomes necessary to see their doctor. Prior to wearables, the accompanying software and a direct connection to their provider they had to rely on intuition and feelings, not real-time data that is read and saved by technology.

Open source technology is expanding the industry

One of the latest boons to the technology corner of healthcare has been the open source healthcare technology where entrepreneurs can literally write their own programs to be used in conjunction with wearables for patient care. It is a growing market and it is expected that it will more than double by the year 2020 so the future is promising for digital healthcare.

At the moment there is a definite shortage of qualified nurses and doctors and no amount of technology can make up for that. What digital technology can do is assist nurses, doctors and other clinicians in assessing patients’ treatments and ongoing needs.

Is there a bright future for digital healthcare? Indeed there is but that does not negate the need for qualified nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors. The two work hand in hand and together they have a bright future going forward. They work together and that is what holds such promise.

Now it’s just a matter of sitting back and watching to see what the latest digital healthcare technology will be.