Digital Health Technology: Going Beyond Regular Apps



With growing technology, smartphones have become a trend and so have the apps that come along with it. But with health concerns all over, a good option is to digitize the health-related apps and bring forth a more necessary goal – to help the ill lead healthier lives. Digital health technology is being targeted by the press for all the good reasons as it helps in contributing towards better lives.

Rock Health, a San Francisco-based venture fund published a survey recently on trends in digital health which was based upon the responses of 4,000 American adults. The distinct result that they found was that the “super-adopters” of digital health technology tend to be “younger, sicker, and significantly more likely to own a smartphone.” Malay Gandhi, MD at Rock Health questions “If you use technology for other things in your life, why wouldn’t you also turn to technology for your health?”

Usage of mobile devices, for bridging the gap and engaging people with their health, has seen an uptrend for various health purposes such as keeping a track on one’s menstrual calendar or a quick workout or for keeping track of sleeping habits. There are individual devices available for keeping track of the above but that has defied the norm since every other person uses a smartphone and hence, they turn to the Internet and mobile apps when they feel medical-under served or helpless.

Vida, a mobile app for personal health coaching has been majorly used by people who have struggles with chronic conditions, like diabetes and blood pressure. Dr Connie Chen, the co-founder and the Chief Medical Officer at Vida, believes that the goal of their app is to help people consciously maintain healthy habits.

For JC Hammond, from Nebraska, health apps have aided her management of severe asthma. In the way of reminding her to take her medication, the app served the purpose of doing so despite her being affected by the condition her whole life. She says that it becomes routine after having to take medication throughout and hence, it becomes difficult to remember otherwise. She is using six different apps which includes Mango Health for reminders for medication and a Walgreens app to sort her prescriptions. “These apps help me identify patterns,” Hammond said. “I knew what triggered my asthma, but until recently, I had not really thought about what kinds of things in my daily routine could predispose me to having an attack or make it harder to manage my asthma.” This is also a way of making patients have more knowledge on their health condition.

Gaining legitimacy for the apps is another milestone that if achieved, can critically support the healthy habits through digitization. CDC has acknowledged the three apps for countering the onset of Diabetes – type 2 namely, Omada HealthNoom Health, and DPS Health — that meet the National Diabetes Prevention Program’s evidence-based standards. This is a step in terms of paving the way for apps that address chronic conditions which can be used alongside traditional treatments in the future by doctors. This also allows a convenient access to the patient data for the medical professionals.

The original article can be accessed here.