As the current pandemic continues to spread, we notice that digital health technologies are on the rise. With that in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of curating the top 5 influential digital health technologies being utilized right now, all over the world.
1: 3D Printing
Healthcare institutions are facing a shortage of medical equipment, with the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and even failing respirators, these factors are putting medical personnel and patients at a great risk. To meet the new shift in demand, digital health technologies such as 3D printing are being used. People are 3D-printing all types of equipment from face shields all the way to swabs and even ventilator parts.
Telemedicine is also one of the digital health technologies being used in the fight against COVID-19. Albeit telemedicine is an already established field, it has seen a massive boom in usage during the pandemic. Companies like Amwell’s telemedicine app have reported usage skyrocketing up by a significant 158% in the U.S. since January. Appointments through PlushCare have also increased by 70%. In comparison to before the pandemic, only 1 in 10 US patients reported using telemedicine services. The pandemic has given digital health technologies like telemedicine a much-needed boost. It is very probable we will see an increase in adoption and development as we move forward.
3: Smartphone Tracking
Governments around the world have resorted to digital health technologies that track smartphone users, identify their location and alert those that might be in close proximity to someone with is infected with the virus. At least 10 countries are employing such surveillance methods. Singapore’s app uses Bluetooth and wireless signals for tracing a user’s proximity, while Moscow launched a QR-based system to track the virus.
4: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
With the current pandemic, the importance of AI in digital health technologies has been made more prominent. The Zhongnan Hospital in China is utilizing an AI-based system for CT lung screening to help doctors prioritize potential COVID-19 cases for further testing. In addition, Barabasi Lab is merging machine learning with network science in the hope of finding potential drug candidates against the virus.
5: Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality holds promising uses in the fight against COVID-19. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that surgeons that were trained with VR showed a 230% improvement in their overall surgical performance. VR can also be used to develop empathy amongst medical students by placing them in different simulations that help understand patient’s needs.