Recent comments linking digital health tools to so-called “snake oil” has the channels of social media atwitter. (Add this post to the noise!) While some may decry the comparison, there is a lot we can learn from that perspective.
One of the challenges of broad digital health adoption is the simple fact that digital health encompasses such a broad array of technologies, usages and purposes. There is no one tonic that will cure a list of ailments; rather we are presented with shelves of solutions to even more shelves of challenges waiting to be addressed. Digital health includes, by my definition, the application of social media tools to preventative health and chronic disease management measures, as well as highly sophisticated data analytics applied to massive amounts of population health data to identify important health trends. It also includes home monitoring devices that keep health care providers informed of their patient’s at-home health condition, as well as telestroke programs that allow physicians to access needed expertise. The list is potentially endless, as new technologies created to address health issues and existing technologies are being put to use in the health care context. (more…)