Report: Healthcare Should Embrace Digital Technology

Digital innovation in healthcare has the potential to address three challenges — rising costs, uneven quality and inadequate access, according to "The Digital Dimension of Healthcare" report by the Global Health Policy Forum.

Digital and social media may expand access to and improve the quality of services by putting tools to manage health and wellness in the hands of patients. According to the report, there are three main areas in healthcare open to digital innovation.

1. Digital channels for health — Providers and payors can deploy digital and social media within the traditional healthcare system, such as follow-up consultants by e-mail or online laboratory results.
2. Digital innovation for consumers — Digital and social media may be the source of new business and delivery models that will primarily benefit consumers and their caregivers.
3. Digital initiatives for social impact — Organizations can create digital initiatives that target specific populations and make use of interactivity and two-way communication to prevent disease and promote health and wellness, according to the report.

However, the report identifies barriers that are holding back the growth of digital technologies in the healthcare industry.

• Regulation
• Misaligned financial incentives
• Lack of patient empowerment
• Fragmentation

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