Digital health as a medical tool
As we indicated in our ebook, telemedicine is a fundamental part of that emerging field known as digital health that is located at the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, which refers to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies.
The WHO defines it as “the provision of health services, where distance is a critical factor, by health professionals through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the exchange of valid information for the diagnosis, treatment, disease prevention, research and evaluation and for the continuous training of health professionals, all with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the population and communities”.
It is undeniable that, as in any area of our lives, technology has broken into the health sector, modifying habits, protocols, work methodologies, treatments and patient monitoring .
In the same way, digital medicine represents not only the advancement of medical science, but also a giant step in terms of social and socio-sanitary benefits, empowering the patient and making them a participant in their own treatment.
These are some of the reasons why hospitals and clinics, health organizations and national health systems are focusing their attention on the implementation of digital solutions for the problems of our current health.
Past and present of telemedicine
Ramiro F. Vaca published in 2021 a certainly interesting article on the history of the concept and implementation of telemedicine in which he makes a quite instructive historical journey through the evolution of “remote medicine”, since the use of the Heliograph in 1347 , going through the first video-consultation in 1964 until the internet phenomenon became public.
Now that the term has assumed a relevant role in terms of digitization, telemedicine has become the main exponent of digital health.
Different technologies can be used depending on what is intended or what problems the patient may be having, such as whether a medical check-up is due or whether the doctor needs certain information to help with remote care. Some doctors’ offices or health care centers do not yet have such a methodology, but those that do may use the following:
- Videochat or video calls using computers or smartphones, which allow transversal communication between professional and patient in real time.
- Devices that can be connected through the Internet, to review physiological data and relevant parameters of the patient’s health. What is called remote patient monitoring (RPM).
- Online patient portals, which allow patients to consult information and share clinical opinions with professionals, such as Dolor.com. It is also possible that you can see the results of the tests, current prescriptions or upcoming appointments, such as ClickSalud+.
Challenges of digitization in health
The latest analyzes of current policies on telemedicine and digital health identified challenges in areas such as the reimbursement of investments dedicated to health, security and privacy. They suggest that more regulatory work is needed in the areas of operationalization, implementation, and international law.
For this reason, the collaboration and cooperation of health systems is required to generate adequate regulation and for countries to realize the benefits of implementing these technologies.
Germany and Belgium are leading the initiative to make their market for medical applications more accessible. Global trends would indicate a broad international convergence in terms of transparency, health content, interoperability, privacy and security and the search for means to offer applications through different channels, such as national portals or through an application directory.
Our EBOOK: Keys to digitization in medicine and rehabilitation
At TRAK we are aware of and supporters of the trends that are driving global health towards the digital revolution.
Our maxim as a company exceeds the needs of the rehabilitation service to now position itself alongside digital medicine, as benchmarks and champions of digital health.
For this reason we wanted to publish our own EBOOK on telemedicine and digital rehabilitation so that you can see what our perception of the future of health is and we can inform you and educate you on digitalization.