Four ways digital technology could improve medical services and your health

Many European healthcare systems struggle to keep up with the demand for care as they contend with aging populations, increased chronic disease, reduced funding, and stretched resources. But digital healthcare technology can help.

As the digitization wave swells, healthcare is surfing its crest. The growing advances in technology have placed digital healthcare platforms as an integral part of modern medicine. They aren't just a trendy innovation; they offer solutions to numerous pressing issues, from aging populations and increasing burdens of chronic diseases to strained resources and funding cuts. Digital healthcare technology presents a hopeful promise to address these issues.

Digital platforms have brought a new era to medical services. They hold potential to increase efficiency, improve patient outcomes, and personalize and widen the accessibility of healthcare delivery. A recent study led by Professor Asta Pundziene and a multinational team of experts explored the transformative potential of digital healthcare platforms. The article's main takeaway is that by embracing digital healthcare technology, medical services can become more efficient, accessible, and affordable, leading to healthier individuals and communities. The research pinpointed four key ways where digital technology can drive significant improvements in healthcare.

The first is through creating a range of benefits for everyone involved - patients, doctors, those footing the bill, and those providing additional services. Digital platforms can cater to the unique needs of all these groups, building a comprehensive healthcare environment that prioritizes patients and provides tailored solutions. Thus, each group gets a unique type of value from the platform, thereby creating a rich ecosystem where everyone benefits.

The second area is the importance of a network of related digital tools and systems. This includes tools like telemedicine software, electronic health records, and mobile health apps. When these tools are effectively interlinked, they can enhance patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and make services more accessible. This interconnected approach allows for the development of new business models and revenue sources, such as remote patient monitoring, virtual consultations, and personalized care plans.

The third aspect is the need for standardization and linking up of these emerging platforms. Even though standards might sound mundane, they are critical for ensuring different systems can communicate efficiently and meet specific delivery-related criteria. Linking up these platforms with different stakeholders can enhance the economic returns and provide a more comprehensive and seamless healthcare experience for patients.

Lastly, the study underscores the importance of creating ways for combining both public and private funding. Without such multiple funding streams, these platforms may struggle to survive. This approach supports the ongoing operation and expansion of these platforms, ensuring the benefits of digital healthcare are widely accessible.

However, the study also discovered a challenge: the potential of digital healthcare platforms to generate value significantly depends on their role in an ecosystem driven by social purposes. Fields like healthcare, education, and government, which prioritize social impact over profits, often face difficulties with expansion and funding. To overcome these challenges, platforms need to diversify their funding sources to include both public and private entities.

The emergence of digital healthcare platforms opens a unique chance to reshape the healthcare industry, improving accessibility and efficiency. These platforms can make healthcare more affordable and convenient, leading to healthier individuals and communities. Yet, to harness these benefits, understanding the value of digital healthcare platforms and addressing associated challenges is crucial. Policymakers and platform owners play a significant role in tackling the healthcare crisis affecting many countries in Europe and globally. Critical questions need addressing, such as who should bear the cost of these new digital services - patients, healthcare providers, or the government? By engaging in these discussions and finding a balance, we can ensure the digital health revolution benefits everyone.


We want to acknowledge all the other researchers involved in the DiHECO project, coordinated by Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 952012.


Lukas Geryba, Kaunas University of Technology

Pranešimą paskelbė: Kauno technologijos universitetas
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2023-09-20 10:19
Švietimas ir mokslas, Medicina, farmacija