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What is Digital Health ? Find out how IT and Healthcare converged.

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Digital Health is the new wave of convergence of IT adoption in the health vertical, which include digital products, digital processes, channels and analytics that accelerate the move from clinic focused IT implementation to a consumer focused  with such technology as

to enable smarter choices, and optimize the way in which IT is being implemented.

What does Digital Health Convergence look like ?

Digital Convergence bring together digital, and genomic revolutions to simplify healthcare management and delivery, improve quality and provide self directed access to medical records and measurements to personalize improve quality of time spent in consultation and well being activities outside of the consultation room.

Videos by Paul Sonnier explaining the concept of Digital Health

What is the History of Digital Health ?

The Start (Pre 1985)

The start was established by organizations such as the Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) in 1961 and Coordination Committee Of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry (COCIR), which provided industry support to drive digitization of healthcare resulting in medical imaging and the birth of telemedicine.

At this time the 1st EHR (Electronic Health Records)  a.k.a. clinical information system began to be developed. Among the earliest was by Lockheed at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View California in the late 1960’s. by the 1980’s, there was a number of computer manufacturers, that have ceased to exist or merged in some form with companies such as Siemens, IBM or GE.

This paradigm emerged due to the power of mainframe computer technology to perform large scale processing and the rise of stable computer network technology such as SNA from IBM and TCP from darpa.

The 1st Wave (1986 – 1999)

In the 1st wave, IT began to expand into every area of Healthcare, which created healthcare informatics and telecare and new association such as the International Medical Informatics Association, the UK Telecare Services Association, the Amercian Telemedicine Association.

At this time, the terms health informatics and telecare began to appear, driven alongside new health related website such as webmd and medline riding the wave of the internet and its underlying technology.

At this time, the enabling technology was the rise of large scale communications networks, distributed computing, personal computers and the internet with browser based HTML technology, to provide substantially high capabilities in processing and display technology at price point which created this wave.

The 2nd Wave (2000 – 2010)

In the 2nd wave, technology improved to the point where personalized computing was made available to consumers, which resulted in a slew of new companies which focused on patient portals such as Welldoc,  Monica Healthcare, Patient Like Me and consumer wearables such as Fitbit and Jawbone. This resulted in new terminology such as eHealth, Digital Health, Connected Health and Telehealth.

Surprisingly, the traditional major IT vendor did not become the major players in this wave with the exception of Apple, but are instead the phone companies and new software companies, wearables, saw and took advantage of the new processing power in mobile devices and the connectivity protocols like as bluetooth and 4G networking to provide un-parallel connectivity to personalize and customize data collection and mobile access.

The Digital Health Age (2010 – Present)

In this age, the rise of convergence of technology, ever more powerful mobile computing and miniaturization of technologies (GPS), coupled with new industry frameworks by Apples Healthkit, Google Fit, and the Microsoft Connected Healthkit, and others, have made it possible for value added software developers to focus on new capabilities that address the social aspects of health such as speciality apps such as Strava and the Singapore’s National Step Challenge

In the domain of the measurement and test kits, we have pharmaceutical players entering this industry such as 23andme, and Theranos.

Watch the Video below of What Healthcare might look like in 2020 TED Talk

What is the size of the Digital Market ?

According to Statista expects the global market to go from $60.8 Billion USD to $233.3 Billion by 2020.  The growth trend is driven by consumer demand for accessibility to their medical health data, transparency in health care and the self collected digital information on mobile devices.

What is the Digital Health Initiatives in Singapore

In Oct 2015, HealthHub was launched to much fanfare to provide national health portal to the citizens, which unlocks health records and makes it available to the citizen for the 1st time.

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