Digital health: Technology applications, and policy implications

Digital health - technology applications policy implications


As more of daily life is digitised, the health space is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, not only to revolutionise health care, but also to continue and maintain its services and products at a societally accepted level.

Global expenditure on health continues to grow, as technological breakthroughs bring patients and doctors closer, regardless of their physical distance. The interplay between big data and algorithms has the potential of leading to better, personalised healthcare services, conceivably making them more affordable and accessible. If the data at the basis of these services is handled in a privacy-forward way, anonymised, constantly updated, and secure, the potential for success is obvious.

However, just as clear are the dangers of exacerbating the disparities that already plague the digital and health ecosystems. These include building on insecure, impractical, or deficient standards, regulatory, or policy environments; expanding the digital divide into a crucial part of life; trafficking sensitive information on unsafe networks; and reducing quality in a tradeoff with quantity and speed.