With the broad adoption of technologies such as big data, AI, and mobile computing, the healthcare industry is witnessing a considerable transformation. This transformation is vastly improving disease detection and chronic illness management, making a better life expectancy accessible and affordable to billions of people.
The concept of digital health is evolving continuously. It is increasingly covering everything from mobile applications to wearables, diagnostic tools, and AI tools for drug discovery. Essentially, it is about applying the digital transformation, through cultural change and disruptive technologies, to the healthcare sector.
Crucially, the use of mobile devices is driving a profound shift in the healthcare delivery model to one that is remote and patient-generated. Health and fitness apps are the most popular ones on the app store with maximum consumer spend. The access on-demand model of mHealth offers services anytime, anywhere, creating unparalleled opportunities to reduce healthcare costs, increase patient engagement, and improve outcomes. The benefits of mHealth are compelling for managing chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, where the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment is mainly dependent on the will and the everyday choices of the patient.
mHealth has made patient engagement easier by making everyday progress tracking tools available to both patient and physician. Mobile Health is focused on helping users make better decisions and promoting more proactive behaviors. Mobile health offers a profound opportunity to move from a corrective health paradigm to a preventative one.
But, just like any other industry, healthcare is best revolutionized from the exterior and not from within. The sector brings a fresh approach with more patient-centric solutions coming in, but are they really reliable? As per research by Mangrove Capital Partners, of the top 50 medical apps by revenue, only five (10%) were actually founded by doctors. Meanwhile, of the top 50 medical apps by monthly active users (MAU), none were conceived and built by doctors.
In the meantime, AI and big data are revolutionizing the approach to medicine and healthcare. “Evidence-based medicine” is the backbone of modern medicine, integrating clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information. Thanks to the rising popularity of AI and big data, the industry is now moving to a powerful combination hypothesis-testing-conclusions methodology. Rather than testing specific hypotheses, firms can simply analyze the data that already exists and make predictions based on the patterns. By collecting and connecting anonymized data on human health, the healthcare industry is now able to analyze the relationships between different prevention/ treatment techniques and patient outcomes.
Furthermore, such patient data is being assessed by experts to deliver precise, personalized recommendations that could not be derived from sample-based studies. AI, if developed and used appropriately, will offer the potential for decision-making that is not only faster but more accurate and less biased than that of humans.
The magical power of AI to extend life is no more a mere myth. With considerable investment now flowing into AI-driven health businesses, the healthcare sector is transforming from an analog industry into a digital one. mHealth will unlock the most efficient and cheapest healthcare solutions that are available to billions of people via their smartphones.
Experts predict that mHealth may prove to be the internet’s most valued legacy, saving billions of lives.