Digital Health: What does the future of healthcare look like?

Digital health is set to take healthcare to a new level worldwide. Practical applications such as telemedicine and digital health applications are already ensuring significantly greater efficiency. Technologies such as AI and virtual reality also hold undreamt-of potential for the future. But what is digital health? Which laws apply? And what opportunities and challenges do we face? Get to know practical examples.

20.6.2024
Digitalization
5
min reading time
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Die wichtigsten Antworten über Digital Health auf einen Blick:

What is digital health?

Digital Health umfasst alle Anwendungen zeitgemäßer Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien (IKT) im Gesundheitswesen, wie beispielsweise die elektronische Patientenakte oder mobile Gesundheitsanwendungen.

What advantages and opportunities does digital health offer?

Digital Health eröffnet nicht nur Möglichkeiten für eine effizientere Kommunikation im Gesundheitswesen, sondern präsentiert nahezu grenzenlose Chancen zur Weiterentwicklung der Gesundheitsversorgung sowohl auf nationaler als auch globaler Ebene.

What challenges does digital healthcare pose?

Digital Health birgt Herausforderungen, die sowohl technischer als auch ethischer, rechtlicher und sozialer Natur sein können. Es ist entscheidend, dass persönliche Gesundheitsinformationen jederzeit datenschutzkonform gespeichert und übermittelt werden. Der Schutz vor Datenmissbrauch erfordert die Implementierung von Sicherheitsmaßnahmen wie Verschlüsselungstechnologien oder die Auswahl sicherer Serverstandorte.

Definition: What is digital health?

Digital health encompasses all applications of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) in the healthcare sector. In addition to patient care, this also includes, for example, disease prevention or everyday fitness monitoring.

Typical areas of digital health and what lies behind them:

  • Telemedicine: Digital doctor-patient communication or even remote treatment of patients via video calls, chats or e-mail communication.
  • Digital health applications (DiGA): Apps and software that are used to diagnose, treat or prevent diseases
  • Health tracking: Personal health devices such as blood glucose meters, digital blood pressure monitors and other portable or home-use technologies that collect and transmit health data.
  • Artificial intelligence and big data: analyzing large amounts of health data to improve diagnoses and treatment plans and to better understand disease patterns.
  • Health information systems: Systems for recording, storing, managing and transferring patient data and health-related information. Better networking of stakeholders increases efficiency because, for example, different specialists have access to the same data basis.

Examples from everyday life

Digital health has long since become part of our everyday lives. For example, the electronic patient file enables a precise and complete health history of the patient across different healthcare facilities.

Wearables such as fitness trackers, smartwatches and heart rate monitors continuously record health data such as steps, heart rate, sleep quality and even ECG data. They make a significant contribution to self-determined patient monitoring and disease prevention.

Mobile health applications for smartphones support health monitoring with functions such as medication reminders or wellness tips.

What is e-health?

E-health (electronic health) and digital health are usually used as synonyms. However, there are actually subtle differences in meaning. While e-health is primarily used in the context of patient health management , digital health also encompasses the promotion of people's general well-being.

The term e-health is used, for example, by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) to summarize measures such as the provision of the telematics infrastructure (TI), the electronic health card (eGK), the electronic patient file (ePA) or the e-prescription.

Es gibt einen Unterschied zwischen Digital Health und E-Health.

What is the legal situation in Germany?

In Germany, there are a number of laws that play a role in digital health. These include, among others:

  • Bureaucracy Reduction Act: The BEG is intended to reduce bureaucracy and also promotes the use of digital technologies in this context. Amendment IV stipulates that electronic form is to become the official standard in legal transactions through a corresponding amendment to the German Civil Code. The written form is only to be used as a substitute form.
  • Digital Healthcare Act: The DVG forms the basis for the digitalization of the healthcare system in Germany. The law amends many existing laws and ordinances, in particular regulations for statutory health insurance companies.
  • Act for secure digital communication and applications in the healthcare sector: The so-called E-Health Act regulates the framework conditions for the introduction and use of digital technologies in the healthcare sector.‍
  • Patient Data Protection Act: The PDSG primarily regulates the protection of personal health data, particularly in connection with measures such as the electronic patient file (ePA) or the e-prescription.

What advantages and opportunities does digital health offer?

In addition to more efficient communication in the healthcare sector, digital health offers almost infinite possibilities for improving healthcare both in Germany and globally. Some of the most important advantages at a glance:

  • Improved access to healthcare: Digital technologies can expand access to healthcare services, especially in remote or underserved areas. Telemedicine, for example, makes it possible to consult specialists remotely.
  • Better prevention and disease management: Wearables and mobile health apps can continuously monitor health data such as heart rate, sleep patterns and activity levels. This can help prevent illnesses or better manage the progression of chronic diseases.
  • Increased patient participation and autonomy: Digital tools enable patients to participate more actively in their own healthcare. Apps and online platforms offer simple ways to manage health information and make decisions about their own treatment.
  • Data analysis and research: The collection and analysis of health data using digital tools provides valuable insights for medical research and the development of new treatment methods.
  • Early detection of epidemics and disease outbreaks: Digital monitoring systems can help to identify patterns and trends in diseases at an early stage and respond to them quickly.
  • More time for patients: By digitizing processes in medical practices, doctors gain more time for their patients. For example, doctors can relieve their staff with software such as Nelly: with functions such as digital anamnesis and automatic invoice dispatch, medical practices save an average of 90 minutes of work per day.

Digital health in the near future

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) open up exciting new possibilities. VR is suitable for treating phobias, anxiety disorders or PTSD, for example, by creating safe environments for exposure therapy.

Bill Gates, for example, believes that people in the poorest regions of the world could gain access to diagnostic medicine thanks to big data and AI. The idea behind it: digital data analysis processes large amounts of health information cost-effectively and automatically derives appropriate recommendations for action.

Es gibt viele Vorteile und Chancen und Digital Health.

What challenges does digital healthcare pose?

Digital health brings with it challenges that can be of a technical, ethical, legal and social nature . Personal health information must be stored and transmitted in compliance with data protection regulations at all times. Data misuse must be prevented by security measures such as encryption technologies or secure server locations.

In addition, the digital infrastructure must be highly resilient, for example in the area of telemedicine or when accessing electronic patient files. Uniform technical standards are required and medical staff need training in order to use the new technologies without errors.

That's why it makes sense to rely on modern software solutions from Germany. Nelly takes applicable guidelines and laws into account and also offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Conclusion: Digital health is here and will be indispensable in the future

Digital health has established itself as an essential component of the healthcare system and will become increasingly important in the future. It offers enormous opportunities for improved medical care, more efficient processes and greater patient involvement. Despite the challenges in data protection, the opportunities for progressive and patient-centered healthcare of the future outweigh the risks.

How do I digitize my medical practice?

Do you want more time for your patients and less time spent on documentation? Then digital health is exactly the right topic for you. Government measures such as electronic patient records and e-prescriptions mean that medical practices automatically benefit from the advantages of digital health. If you need support with digitalization, you can even apply for loans or subsidies .

With Nelly, you can take efficiency in your practice to the next level. Electronic patient admission, digital document management and invoice automation - without any special hardware or app. Talk to our experts now.

Nelly unterstützt bei der Digitalisierung Ihrer Praxis.

The personal designations used in this article always refer equally to all persons. For the sake of better readability, we have refrained from using double or opposite names.

Definition: What is digital health?

Digital health encompasses all applications of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) in the healthcare sector. In addition to patient care, this also includes, for example, disease prevention or everyday fitness monitoring.

Typical areas of digital health and what lies behind them:

  • Telemedicine: Digital doctor-patient communication or even remote treatment of patients via video calls, chats or e-mail communication.
  • Digital health applications (DiGA): Apps and software that are used to diagnose, treat or prevent diseases
  • Health tracking: Personal health devices such as blood glucose meters, digital blood pressure monitors and other portable or home-use technologies that collect and transmit health data.
  • Artificial intelligence and big data: analyzing large amounts of health data to improve diagnoses and treatment plans and to better understand disease patterns.
  • Health information systems: Systems for recording, storing, managing and transferring patient data and health-related information. Better networking of stakeholders increases efficiency because, for example, different specialists have access to the same data basis.

Examples from everyday life

Digital health has long since become part of our everyday lives. For example, the electronic patient file enables a precise and complete health history of the patient across different healthcare facilities.

Wearables such as fitness trackers, smartwatches and heart rate monitors continuously record health data such as steps, heart rate, sleep quality and even ECG data. They make a significant contribution to self-determined patient monitoring and disease prevention.

Mobile health applications for smartphones support health monitoring with functions such as medication reminders or wellness tips.

What is e-health?

E-health (electronic health) and digital health are usually used as synonyms. However, there are actually subtle differences in meaning. While e-health is primarily used in the context of patient health management , digital health also encompasses the promotion of people's general well-being.

The term e-health is used, for example, by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) to summarize measures such as the provision of the telematics infrastructure (TI), the electronic health card (eGK), the electronic patient file (ePA) or the e-prescription.

Es gibt einen Unterschied zwischen Digital Health und E-Health.

What is the legal situation in Germany?

In Germany, there are a number of laws that play a role in digital health. These include, among others:

  • Bureaucracy Reduction Act: The BEG is intended to reduce bureaucracy and also promotes the use of digital technologies in this context. Amendment IV stipulates that electronic form is to become the official standard in legal transactions through a corresponding amendment to the German Civil Code. The written form is only to be used as a substitute form.
  • Digital Healthcare Act: The DVG forms the basis for the digitalization of the healthcare system in Germany. The law amends many existing laws and ordinances, in particular regulations for statutory health insurance companies.
  • Act for secure digital communication and applications in the healthcare sector: The so-called E-Health Act regulates the framework conditions for the introduction and use of digital technologies in the healthcare sector.‍
  • Patient Data Protection Act: The PDSG primarily regulates the protection of personal health data, particularly in connection with measures such as the electronic patient file (ePA) or the e-prescription.

What advantages and opportunities does digital health offer?

In addition to more efficient communication in the healthcare sector, digital health offers almost infinite possibilities for improving healthcare both in Germany and globally. Some of the most important advantages at a glance:

  • Improved access to healthcare: Digital technologies can expand access to healthcare services, especially in remote or underserved areas. Telemedicine, for example, makes it possible to consult specialists remotely.
  • Better prevention and disease management: Wearables and mobile health apps can continuously monitor health data such as heart rate, sleep patterns and activity levels. This can help prevent illnesses or better manage the progression of chronic diseases.
  • Increased patient participation and autonomy: Digital tools enable patients to participate more actively in their own healthcare. Apps and online platforms offer simple ways to manage health information and make decisions about their own treatment.
  • Data analysis and research: The collection and analysis of health data using digital tools provides valuable insights for medical research and the development of new treatment methods.
  • Early detection of epidemics and disease outbreaks: Digital monitoring systems can help to identify patterns and trends in diseases at an early stage and respond to them quickly.
  • More time for patients: By digitizing processes in medical practices, doctors gain more time for their patients. For example, doctors can relieve their staff with software such as Nelly: with functions such as digital anamnesis and automatic invoice dispatch, medical practices save an average of 90 minutes of work per day.

Digital health in the near future

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) open up exciting new possibilities. VR is suitable for treating phobias, anxiety disorders or PTSD, for example, by creating safe environments for exposure therapy.

Bill Gates, for example, believes that people in the poorest regions of the world could gain access to diagnostic medicine thanks to big data and AI. The idea behind it: digital data analysis processes large amounts of health information cost-effectively and automatically derives appropriate recommendations for action.

Es gibt viele Vorteile und Chancen und Digital Health.

What challenges does digital healthcare pose?

Digital health brings with it challenges that can be of a technical, ethical, legal and social nature . Personal health information must be stored and transmitted in compliance with data protection regulations at all times. Data misuse must be prevented by security measures such as encryption technologies or secure server locations.

In addition, the digital infrastructure must be highly resilient, for example in the area of telemedicine or when accessing electronic patient files. Uniform technical standards are required and medical staff need training in order to use the new technologies without errors.

That's why it makes sense to rely on modern software solutions from Germany. Nelly takes applicable guidelines and laws into account and also offers a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Conclusion: Digital health is here and will be indispensable in the future

Digital health has established itself as an essential component of the healthcare system and will become increasingly important in the future. It offers enormous opportunities for improved medical care, more efficient processes and greater patient involvement. Despite the challenges in data protection, the opportunities for progressive and patient-centered healthcare of the future outweigh the risks.

How do I digitize my medical practice?

Do you want more time for your patients and less time spent on documentation? Then digital health is exactly the right topic for you. Government measures such as electronic patient records and e-prescriptions mean that medical practices automatically benefit from the advantages of digital health. If you need support with digitalization, you can even apply for loans or subsidies .

With Nelly, you can take efficiency in your practice to the next level. Electronic patient admission, digital document management and invoice automation - without any special hardware or app. Talk to our experts now.

Nelly unterstützt bei der Digitalisierung Ihrer Praxis.

The personal designations used in this article always refer equally to all persons. For the sake of better readability, we have refrained from using double or opposite names.

Anett Witke

Author

Anett Witke is an SEO copywriter and content expert specializing in the areas of IT, medicine and electronics.

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