The digital age has progressed massively over the last few years and with many of us using it to deal with our health, it is no wonder that it could be seen as something we will use to sort out some specific health problems.
Virtual consultations have become a bit of the norm since Covid hit us in 2019. According to Vitality, Dr Patchava said there will be an increasing blend of virtual and in-person healthcare now. Consumers want to access and convenience.
Of course, not everything can be done remotely which hopefully means that real-life doctor’s surgeries will still be used. Physical and digital care should coexist.
There are lots of new home testing techniques arising in the digital world including a new tech that enables remote diagnosis like TytoCare, which is a handheld kit and app that can check your heart, lungs and abdomen at home, with the results sent to a doctor.
Other amazing home testing kits include One Drop which allows people with diabetes to measure their own blood sugar levels, and AliveCor’s KardiaMobile device can identify heart-rhythm issues in 30 seconds.
Blood and genetic tests and cancer screening can also be done at home. A company called SKin Analytics allows dermatologists to identify conditions remotely, while Blue Box uses an algorithm to analyse uring to check for signs of breast cancer which is powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Care Hub which launched last year, has become a reality for members of Vitality, with a digital journey to see a Vitality GP, get approval for care, and book appointments with specialists. Vitality also recently added a Premier Consultant Panel which is a group of doctors they have identified as having superior performance and available through their Care Hub. Vitality writes that the doctors on the panel have, on average, 20% shorter lengths of stays in the hospital and 35% lower re-admission to the hospital than other private consultants.
Mental Health patients have also benefitted from the digital world with virtual reality therapeutics available where patients can “sit” on a therapist’s sofa from home, and can also replicate challenging situations. A pilot study at St. George’s Hospital in London found that when people were shown calming landscapes on VR headsets before and during operations, 94% felt more relaxed. And a US study found that VR helped reduce pain in childbirth.
Many of us rely on counting our steps every day and monitoring our sleep but with companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung all looking at healthcare through wearable tech it wont be long before we can all deal with our own health.