Digital Healthcare is Alive and Well and Helping to Improve Patient Outcomes

Digital health is not a new concept and recent news from Rock Health suggests that the healthcare industry is continuing to rapidly galvanize around the digital health opportunity. Digital health can be defined as the means to empower us to better track, manage and improve our own and our family's health, live better, more productive lives, and improve society through technology. It's also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality and make medicine more personalized and precise.

It's clear that digital health remains strong, especially as more than $300 million was invested into analytics and big data development companies. And $184 million went towards population health management (PHM), a sign that our space is healthy indeed. Investors seem to agree with what we've been saying all along – PHM is a big part of the future of value-based care.

The Rock Health report also pointed out that the potential to impact chronic disease states such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes by using large data sets for measurement, reminders and personalization of care. The potential for cost savings here range in the hundreds of millions, and the health systems using Tribridge Health360 are already experiencing similar benefits in reduced costs and more personalized care experiences.

In its coverage of the Rock Health news, Healthcare IT News noted that wearables and biosensing were also among the top investor draws to date this year. This is no surprise given our work with Dartmouth-Hitchcock where data from sensors and devices such as blood-pressure cuffs, pulse oximeter devices and activity trackers such as Microsoft Bands are transmitted via smartphone to the Azure cloud.

This positive news is supported by recent research from Frost & Sullivan showing that PHM is the leading growth opportunity in a post-EHR healthcare era. Frost notes that "The rising cost burden of chronic disease management coupled with evolving value-based payment programs supports the requirement of individualized digital interventions that aim to transform care delivery and improve chronic conditions at a population level." This is why the firm says that "the adoption of PHM solutions that demonstrate meaningful use of IT applications is expected to accelerate in 2016 through 2020."

There's plenty of good news to go around for those of us in digital healthcare and especially those lives that are positively impacted by it.

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