As the healthcare industry modernizes and develops, patients are increasingly becoming “healthcare consumers”. This, in part, is due to the rising popularity and arguably, normalization of digital health data. Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of fitness, well-being, and health-monitoring apps, with users becoming more and more familiarized with the process of entering and tracking their health data on a digital device.
Digitally-engaged patients are demanding more independence in their choices, voices, and shared decision-making. (Ahmadvand A, Gatchel R, Brownstein J, Nissen L.)
Using the Sidekick Health DTx platform as an example, we witness how patients can enhance their chronic condition management at home and in between doctor’s appointments. Digital health programs like Sidekick provide patients with tools to take part in independent daily disease monitoring, paying particular attention to disease-specific progress and therapy response.
With an educational and motivational digital solution at their fingertips, patients are able to play a central role in their disease management and embrace opportunities for new-world engagement with their doctors.
The Human Element
Communication and trust are at the foundation of doctor-patient relationships. A patient having trust in their doctor, or other healthcare professional, is essential and can have a significant influence on their behavior. Research studies have found that patients who have higher trust in their doctors are more likely to disclose personal information, and be more willing to accept and adhere to the recommended treatment.
However, with all of the demands of the modern healthcare system, it’s no surprise that doctors often find it difficult to prioritize trust building and empathetic communication between themselves and their patients. Being a technical expert with an in-depth knowledge of diseases and their treatment options is arguably tricky to balance alongside being mindful of patients’ emotional needs, psychosocial backgrounds, and cultural beliefs.
Furthermore, with both chronic diseases and the cost of treatment on the rise, doctors are dealing with an increasing pressure to do more with less time and resources.
Digital health programs have the potential to tackle these challenges head on by extending patient care beyond the walls of the doctor’s office.
Let’s consider how digital health serves to support patients’ previously unmet needs and meet the increasing demands of the healthcare system: