Digital Data the Best Ally When Facing Health ChallengesBy María Jesús Salido Rojo | Wed, 01/20/2021 - 09:14
It is too early to draw conclusions but there will be a "before" and "after" of the pandemic crisis and it is easy to imagine that the new world will force us to rethink the rules of the game, to come up with new ways of organizing, relating, consuming, sharing and managing. We will have to establish new priorities and new strategies, particularly in the health sector.
Over the last 20 years, we have been developing and refining a technology with which we have become conceptually familiar, but now we have seen how deficient its implementation was and the inequalities that it may entail. The year 2020 was, among many things, the year in which digital health ceased to be an abstract model, a commercial argument, a potential market, an overused concept, a future to explore.
Technology applied to health has abruptly become the tool that guarantees access to health, that democratizes healthcare, that mitigates the isolation of patients during periods of confinement, that allows costs to be reduced and resources to be directed to where they are most needed, which will be crucial in the coming years for our highly stressed health systems.
One of the lessons learned from this crisis is that health is not collateral, it is structural; it is not just another service, it is nuclear. At present, the world economy, and therefore the way of life as we know it, depends on how we manage this health crisis and its effects in the medium term. And we are talking about collective health, not individual health. We are talking about universal health, health as a basic strategic condition on which all other human activities depend.
Health systems above any other sector will have to adapt quickly to the new situation: accelerating those trends that they had been targeting for years, applying all available knowledge and technology and expediting any pending innovation. The challenge in my opinion will not be in the technology itself, its robustness or availability. The challenge for any healthcare provider that wants to deploy a digital transformation strategy will be the orchestration of services, the coherence and integration between different technological solutions, the normalization, standardization and traceability of data, and the harmonization and coordination of the entire value proposition.
© Digital Health Ecosystem. SocialDiabetes S.L 2021
Digital data that come from technological expansion are already used, in an increasingly widespread and sophisticated way, to nurture innovation processes in products and services, to manage inventories, to understand the behavior of patients, professionals and managers, to analyze the cost-effectiveness of treatments or to plan and anticipate needs.
Data must be put to work for the common good. We have to be able to prevent complications and necessities. We must be able to intervene in a personalized, segmented way and target these data to countries' national digital health strategies. We must be able to design economic and clinical scenarios based on the evidence provided by data mining.
We are facing an explosion of connected devices and the growing popularity of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). The virtuous circle is about providing digital technology products that solve real user problems, channel relevant content through them, encourage their intensive use and capture actionable “real world” data.
Data mining uses tools such as association, clustering, segmentation and classification to discover patterns and help better understand the environment in real time. These data are nourishing the entire system, both public and private, and will motivate alliances to create ecosystems in which companies of various specializations, locations and sizes will participate.
The challenges are enormous and it seems logical that we will have to rethink the concepts of competition and collaboration. That will open the door to new business models and alliances that were unthinkable before the crisis.