Posted on

The Implications of Digital Health

Digital health, the healthcare sector that is enabled and provisioned by wireless data and the Internet – which together have become known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is the the most significant force influencing the practice and future course of patient care. Digital health is already impacting such diverse areas as drug delivery, medical imaging, and patient/caregiver relationships.

Examples of connected health include drug injectors and inhalers that communicate with patients about when and how to self-administer therapeutic drugs, and which then collect data on dosing events and pass the information to a Cloud-based repository for caregiver review and response. A well-known example of connected health is the rapid spread and adoption of patient portals that allow patients to log on to their account, request appointments, prescription refills, and report health concerns.

One of the most dynamic areas of digital health is medical imaging. Software-based image processing and analysis – referred to as SaMD (Software as a Medical Device) have been proliferating rapidly. Many of these products employ artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neural networks in their algorithms, endowing them with the ability to evolve over time. There are now more than sixty such products approved by the FDA. Regulators are attempting to adjust approval parameters to reflect this capability. For now, a requirement for approval is that the algorithms be locked. Ultimately, the goal of product developers is to move to unlocked versions that will allow the software to adapt over time to become capable of keeping up with the growth in the imaging market.

More information is available at