The rapidly developing digitalization has earned itself the name of Industrial Revolution 4.0. New solutions are created on a daily basis, enhancing every aspect possible: from heavy industry to jewelry making. Therefore, it is natural that healthcare is affected by this as well.
Digital diagnostics are the perfect example. Drawing from various tools, they are the essence of what digitalization in healthcare may look like in the future. Thus, they are the focus of this article.To be more specific, here we discuss how digital diagnostics are used in preventive healthcare. If this happens to be your topic of interest, we encourage you to read on.
• Preventive diagnostics face many challenges: lack of awareness, inaccessibility, complexity of the healthcare systems, and the attitude of the patients.
• Digital technologies such as AI, blockchain and IoT help address many of these issues and enhance preventive healthcare.
• Dealing with the challenges fully is still impossible, but with the further development of digital technologies it should become achievable.
The Challenges in Preventive Healthcare
Before we delve into the benefits of digital diagnostics in preventive healthcare, we will discuss the challenges that the latter face. This insight is necessary to understand the full extent of gaps that are closed by the use of digital technologies.
Awareness and Education
The first type of challenge that preventive healthcare needs to battle is the lack of awareness and proper medical education in society. These include:
• Lack of understanding of preventive measures
• Health illiteracy
• Knowledge gaps
Accessibility and Affordability
The second kind of issues that haunt preventive healthcare are the problems of accessibility and affordability. These result in the following challenges:
• Healthcare quality disparities
• Financial barriers
• Rural healthcare inaccessibility
People’s lifestyle also affects preventive healthcare, making it significantly more difficult to achieve. The wrong attitude results in:
• Unhealthy lifestyle choices
• Lack of compliance with the care team’s recommendations
Complexity of the Healthcare System
Finally, some of the challenges have their roots in the healthcare system itself. The main causes of that are:
• Healthcare system fragmentation
• Lack of coordination and integration between healthcare providers
• Lack of integrity within preventive services
Digital Diagnostic in Preventive Healthcare: How Digital Technologies Help Tackle the Challenges
Understanding the problems that preventive healthcare faces, let us proceed with explaining the role of digital diagnostics in battling them. The number of technologies introduced in the industry is constantly growing, providing medical professionals with the possibility to improve prevention even further. What exactly is used?
AI in digital diagnostics is the basis for quicker and more accurate prevention. It is capable of spotting changes that a human cannot. This way, it lets preventive care teams diagnose illnesses more quickly, and stop them from escalating.How does it tackle the challenges? Firstly, it closes the gap between different regions since it can be done remotely. Secondly, it reduces the healthcare quality disparities, since it will be similarly effective across different facilities.
Digital technologies are also used for remote monitoring of chronic conditions. IoT trackers and monitors or special mobile apps are used to constantly gather data on the health parameters of a patient and send them to their care team. As a result, any dangerous changes might be spotted almost immediately and reacted upon.Remote monitoring is especially useful for spreading health-related knowledge and good habits. Applications often inform users about potential improvements or unhealthy behaviors, while the care teams may monitor whether a patient follows their recommendations and react if they do not.
There is also a digital solution for the lack of cooperation between care team members and the integrity of the preventive measures: blockchain technology. This effective approach toward medical records lets healthcare providers communicate seamlessly and prepare unified preventive recommendations. How does blockchain in digital diagnostics work? It unifies decentralized data while maintaining its decentralized nature. It enables different healthcare providers to access and work on the same data set, providing them with information on the changes introduced to it. As a result, all the care team members have access to up-to-date records and may come up with further recommendations based on the most accurate information.
Are Digital Technologies Capable of Closing All the Gaps in Preventive Healthcare?
With so many digital solutions, the question that naturally arises is whether it is possible to battle all of the challenges that preventive healthcare faces. The truth is that with the current state of technology, it is possible to alleviate many of their effects, but fully fighting them off is beyond our reach yet. For that to happen, the solutions that are used currently would need to be further developed to provide even better diagnoses with minimum human input. Additionally, society should also be educated, to understand the role of preventive healthcare and the importance it bears to their health.