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Digital Health Resources For Patients: What’s Out There?

By Nishkak +2 more

Technological advances have afforded us the luxury of experiencing connected devices, self-drive cars and smart coffee mugs but have also made it possible for us to easily track, manage and store our health-related data through various cutting-edge digital health innovations.


The Covid-19 pandemic has made us realise how imperative is the access to digital healthcare resources – resources that could help patients access essential healthcare services at the ease of their homes.  

Why are digital healthcare resources important?

Digital health resources could offer an efficient and convenient way for patients to address their health concerns presenting those with critical illnesses to take preventive action or seek medical advice at the right time from the comfort of their homes. 

Digitized information will also provide a faster and more efficient mechanism for obtaining a medical history in the years to come. Digital healthcare resources are likely to go a long way in helping improve doctor-patient relationships through trust and transparency when physical appointments may not be possible.

It helps overcome the roadblocks like consulting a superspecialist from a distant location. Now people living in remote areas can also tele-consult specialists and super specialists from other cities easily.  

Digital health encompasses mobile health (mHealth) apps, electronic health records (EHRs), electronic medical records (EMRs), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, as well as personalized medicine, optimal utilization of such resources can be very helpful.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

What digital healthcare resources are available?

The advancement of technology in the digital health space is altering how people interact with doctors, caregivers and the rest of the healthcare ecosystem. While this space is ever-evolving, here are some of the most popular digital resources for patients.

Digital therapeutics & diagnostics

Digital therapeutics can improve patients’ health, increase compliance with medications and aid in providing better care. It uses advanced Artificial Intelligence to enhance patients’ lives by offering personalized care. Digital therapeutics can assist in the processes laid for the prevention, management and treatment of medical conditions or disorders. 

Digital diagnostics, on the other hand, helps patients book and review their lab tests from the comfort of their homes. Apart from being a huge time-saver and being cost-effective, digital diagnostic labs seemed safer during the pandemic when social distancing and the risk of infections were high. The reports are shared via email and directly to the patient’s phone via WhatsApp too allowing a great deal of accessibility and flexibility for patients. The best part is patients have the liberty to choose a particular lab from which they would like to take the test.

Telemedicine & E-consultation platforms

Telemedicine is a platform that allows patients to connect with doctors for virtual consultations. It could be in the form of a phone call or video call or text message. 

Telemedicine is a great way to seek medical assistance from anywhere. All you need is a computer or a phone. 

There are a lot of e-consultation platforms available in the market-for example, Docon, Practo, Lybrate, Tata Health, Mfine, etc. E-consultation is the best solution for chronic diseases, where patients need to consult and follow up with doctors regularly. 

Patient chatbots

Patient chatbots are another valuable resource for patients. With the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, chatbots provide quick answers to patients’ health-related queries. Patients can expect answers to common questions about symptoms, treatments and complications regarding their health conditions. 

One such chatbot is Anya, where you can get all your answers to common health-related queries across categories like Hypertension, Diabetes, Women’s Health, Respiratory ailments and Tuberculosis. Anya is multi-lingual and available on WhatsApp, Facebook and on the web. This chatbot has been widely accepted by HCPs and patients as a health partner providing medically verified information to improve patients’ health awareness.

But one must not consider this as a substitute for doctor’s advice or for self-diagnosis and treatment. Chatbots can only provide some basic information but do not aid in any kind of diagnosis and treatment.  

Takeaway

One of the most critical needs in today’s healthcare environment is the ability to deliver high-quality care to patients. Healthcare professionals face new challenges on how to meet the needs of their patients in the best and most efficient way. One way to do this is by utilizing digital tools to provide better health education. These technologies can also serve as a supplement to the traditional face-to-face doctor visit. Along with numerous benefits, one must also understand the limitations of teleconsultations as some conditions require in-person consultation with the doctor also make sure you opt for trusted platforms where doctor details, registration and qualification etc. are visible to you. Clearly, there are many reasons why we must leverage these digital healthcare resources and take control of our health. With the correct understanding of the scope and benefits, these resources can be used efficiently to make our lives easier.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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