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News Article

A Digital Future Requires Combined Efforts

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 11/23/2021 - 11:29

An equal and distributed use of tech has to be a common goal to make a difference on the majority’s health outcomes, found a joint project by the Lancet, Financial Times Commission and UNICEF.

On the Digital Health Futures report, the three organizations surveyed the expectations of a younger population regarding digital health. Results show that 88 percent of respondents use some form of digital technology for health-related purposes, with smartphone apps and websites being the most used sources. Within this use, apps for improving fitness were the most popular. The poll also found that half of respondents said that accessing health information was the most significant way that digital technologies can help young people manage their health and wellbeing.

Regarding the use and management of these technologies, responders indicated that inaccurate health information is the main concern for young people who use digital technologies, followed by uncertainties about their privacy and concerns that digital technology would make them less physically active. “Young people want governments and technology companies to increase access to the internet and to quality, trustworthy health information,” said the report. They also found that responders want to see stronger regulation of online content and services to protect them from harm and misinformation.

Some companies are paying attention to these concerns. For example, Mexico’s digital-prescription company Prescrypto claims to use feedback from doctors and patients to improve its operations. “To improve the experience for the patient, we want to increase the interaction options with different parties. For example, we already have the option to contact online pharmacies,” explained Everardo Barojas, Director General, Prescrypto to Mexico Business News.

Paying close attention to user demands allowed the company to identify marked niches, such as orthopedic product providers or laboratories. “Having these services on the platform would increase both the value for the patient, as well as for doctors who want treatment options for the patient.”

As companies increase their value proposition, regulators have to continue fomenting a digital, safe environment for both companies and users. To push new regulations, industry’s groups are lobbying for clear regulation of Healthtech, explained Christian López-Silva, Partner, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences, Baker McKenzie. The requests include an indication from COFEPRIS’s new administration of plans to regulate medical apps through the incorporation of the Software as Medical Device (SaMD) provision to the new Draft Technical Standard PROY-NOM-241 on Good Manufacturing Practices for Medical Devices.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst