What can we expect from digital health in the coming years?

A recent speech by Karen DeSalvo, HHS's Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, addressed the changing health care landscape and the type of impact it's had on digital health – a growing development in both the health care community, health aficionados and the general population.

"We've seen some historic changes in the last eight years," said DeSalvo, according to MobiHealthNews. "And I think sometimes we begin to take them for granted, but it's been an incredible opportunity to really put people first and recognize that they are at the center of all of this."

Digital health has been on the rise in recent years as practitioners look for ways to cut costs and improve efficiency and people (as well as patients) look to learn more about their health. DeSalvo says that more data is playing a key role in health care's evolution.

"I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but data is the currency of our future; it is the driver to our new economy, and health care is a part of that. It's such a tremendous part of the story of how we've gone from 15 percent of the system using electronic health records to almost all of them," DeSalvo said. "It means that now that we have all this data that can be made available, it is now actionable, and we're seeing so many great examples of how data is beginning to flow on behalf of consumers."

Devices like FitBit and Apple Watch are helping drive much of this change, but don't be surprised if, in the coming years (or even months), even more hardware and software solutions become available that address specific health needs.

The question in the near future won't be "Will mobile technology improve health care?" It'll be "What do we do with all the information we've gathered because of these mobile systems?"

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  • Bo Clawson
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    If companies don’t use “digital devices” effectively to inspire people to adopt better habits, we are not going to significantly change the lifestyle chronic illnesses we see as we move through every hour each day. I am guessing that self inflicted chronic illness due to deliberate life style choices affects at least 1 in 4 adults today.

    Social psychology is going to play a decisive role in developing successful apps, devices and their advertising & instructions that people will use for the rest of their life. That is quite a challenge. How you inspire a person to start change may be the easier entry point. Having that person actually use & enter the data (any number of ways), see the results & follow recommendations to adjust to changes is a very tricky set of human engineering challenges.

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