The COVID-19 pandemic forced health systems to quickly adapt how to deliver care, heightening the focus and need for digital health technologies in the absence of face-to-face interactions. Although there remain challenges and plenty of untapped potential, adopting digital health has led to improved care in many areas. For example, 84% of physicians who use virtual care say it improves their patients’ access to care.1
But virtual care is just one component of digital health. In reality, digital health refers to the use of technologies to drive improvements in the delivery and impact of healthcare overall. This includes telehealth, health apps and gaming, using artificial intelligence in research and development, digital platforms for data management and sharing, and more.
Looking holistically at the healthcare ecosystem, digital health can positively impact a wide range of areas:
Expand our understanding of diseases, and advance research and drug development
Contribute to finding the right diagnosis and right treatment faster
Empower patients in managing their care
Enable healthcare providers to treat and monitor patients remotely, and share clinical data and knowledge
Support public health and government decision making
Improve health system efficiency and accessibility, including in remote areas
Digital Health for Personalized Care
With an increase in technologies at our fingertips, individuals are becoming more involved in their care by actively seeking information and using data to drive decisions. But an individual’s health journey remains fragmented, complex and burdensome. Digital health can help change that by offering streamlined solutions personalized to the patient’s needs according to where they are in their health journey. Every individual can have a plan for how to cope with their personal condition and get the necessary resources and support in a holistic way.
The digital revolution happening in healthcare also makes it possible to collect and analyze high-quality patient data that gives a deeper understanding of how to treat an individual based on their unique characteristics. We believe the future is one where diagnosis, care plans, treatments and outcomes are integrated and monitored seamlessly with the aim of getting the right solutions to the right patient at the right time, and that digital solutions, health data and artificial intelligence can play a role in bringing this to life.
The Path Forward is Together
Collaboration will play a key role in the successful implementation and adoption of digital health solutions in the healthcare system. We cannot do it alone, and that’s why we are working together in partnerships across sectors to realize this potential.
At Roche we aspire to support patients every step of the way. We and others are constantly uncovering patient unmet needs that can’t - and shouldn’t - be solved in isolation. We are more committed than ever to building meaningful collaborations and exploring new models of partnership and value co-creation. In fact, in 2019 we established a centre of excellence, called AI with Roche (aiR), to enable collaboration among the AI and digital health community. Our core purpose within aiR is to facilitate partnerships that accelerate patient and health system benefits using AI and digital health.
We are already working across sectors to harness the power of digital solutions along the entire patient health journey. From prevention, to research and development of new medicines, to diagnosis, access to treatment and ongoing health management, we’re engaging multi-disciplinary partners to leverage digital health in support of personalized care.
For example, we’re currently collaborating with patient organizations to co-develop a digital platform that will provide a central resource for validated, curated and personalized services and information, to enable improved access to care and drive care-coordination. In other examples, like the End ALS Challenge, we’re bringing diverse stakeholders together and harnessing open innovation and data sharing to better understand disease biomarkers, leading to earlier diagnosis and targeted treatment.
We are truly at a pivotal moment in time where healthcare, technology and data are coming together to advance personalized healthcare like never before. Digital health is paving the way for better patient experiences and outcomes and more efficient health systems, and we’re on the road together.
1. Digital Health Week Partner Toolkit. Canada Health Infoway. Retrieved from https://www.infoway-inforoute.ca/en/digital-health-week-toolkit