The Role of Digital Health in Managing Chronic Health Conditions

The Role of Digital Health in Managing Chronic Health Conditions

Do you have a chronic health condition? It is relatively standard to have to manage one, and many people are able to live healthy, happy, and productive lives while managing chronic health issues. There are a range of conditions that can be considered chronic, but the best definition is that they are ongoing, difficult, or impossible to cure or treat, and have impacts on your everyday life. 

Some examples of chronic health conditions include diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, chronic pain, degenerative nerve diseases, and persistent and ongoing mental health issues. Some of these conditions can be managed with medication, like insulin for people with diabetes, for instance, while for others, medicine may only be able to treat symptoms. However, in this modern world, digital technology is playing an increasing role in managing chronic health conditions. This informative article is going to share how this occurs and how you can benefit. Continue reading to learn more.

Healthcare Professionals Can Study Online

Those who help people manage their chronic health conditions, such as nurses and doctors, are now able to study ABSN programs online and other relevant courses. In the past, study had to be undertaken in person, on campus, due to the technology limitations. However, with the advent of high-speed internet, video conferencing, advanced digital learning platforms, and secure websites, students can now study wholly online if they choose. This means they are familiar with the digital technology world and are equipped to utilize technology to support patients with chronic health issues. 

Digital Tech to Manage Diabetes

For patients living with diabetes, most of their chronic disease management takes place outside the doctor’s office or hospital. Any diabetes diagnosis may require frequent blood tests and insulin injections (often multiple times per day), plus recommended tracking practices like weight tracking, dietary changes, exercise, and potentially treating other conditions that represent comorbidity with diabetes. Since doctors and nurses often do not have the resources or capacity to monitor a patient’s management, the patient takes responsibility for the ongoing treatment until their next appointment, which carries some inherent risk. 

This is where digital technology comes in. For instance, you can have a procedure to install an automatic insulin pump, which is programmed to administer doses of insulin on a set schedule or as a reaction to changing blood glucose levels. These pumps can even be linked to an app for real-time monitoring of levels. In some cases, these devices can even transmit data to AI-based hubs that can use algorithms to make decisions on behalf of the patient. 

It is worth noting that even with the most advanced technology, factors like exercise, diet, stress, and other health conditions can have severe implications for blood glucose levels and insulin requirements. 

Telehealth

One major win for both patients and clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic was the advent of telehealth. This term refers to video or audio conferencing between patients and treating staff. It meant that someone could stay home and still have an appointment with their treating professional unless a physical examination was required. Doctors could still prescribe medication, which is delivered via text message. This ensured safety for immunocompromised individuals while the pandemic raged around countries.

Today, telehealth offers a range of benefits for patients managing chronic health conditions. For instance, those living in remote and rural locations can still see a specialist without the hundreds of miles round trip required to see them in person. One medical area that is particularly great for telehealth is psychiatry. Someone with chronic mental health issues can maintain regular appointments with their psychiatrist, get medication and advice on treatment, and stay home if they need to. Telehealth also offers benefits for single parents, those on low incomes and people with disabilities. 

AI Innovation

One type of bleeding-edge digital tech being used in American healthcare settings is machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that has taken the world by storm. Machine learning is being used to analyze CT and MRI scans to treat the acute effects of chronic illnesses and assists doctors in diagnosing and treating chronic health conditions. 

AI can also improve cancer diagnostic processes, and hospitals are moving towards this away from a traditional biopsy. For instance, a digital scan of parts of a human body where cell mutations are occurring can be used to diagnose cancer, and then treatment can occur based on these diagnoses. And it goes without saying that faster diagnoses mean faster treatment and better outcomes. This prompt response could mean the difference between life and death for millions of Americans each year who experience cancer. 

Cloud Computing

Technology is also improving healthcare operations and administration in a considerable way, which has flow-on effects on those managing chronic health issues. Thanks to cloud computing, U.S. healthcare organizations such as public and private hospitals are now able to maintain electronic records of patient files, reducing the need for hospitals and clinics to maintain on-site records or computer network servers. 

This is excellent news for patients wishing to change providers due to personal choice or a change of housing situations. Where once it used to take a few business days to mail your files through to a new clinic, your treating team can now send files over in a matter of seconds via digital technology. This alacrity helps Americans secure prompt and timely medical treatment before chronic health conditions get out of hand. 

A Digital Summary

This informative article has shared the role of digital health in managing chronic health conditions and the benefits and implications of this for both patients and clinicians. From diabetes management to telehealth and AI, we’ve covered it all. 


Radhika Narayanan

Radhika Narayanan

Chief Editor - Medigy & HealthcareGuys.




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