I’m sure you remember the scene from one of the most brilliant Monty Python movies ever made: Life of Brian. The insurgent commando plans the abduction of Pilate’s wife in return for all the horrors they had to endure from the Roman Empire. And then they ask the rhetorical question: what have they ever done for them. Apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for them?
Similarly, I get a lot of questions after my keynotes and online either from patients or physicians about what digital health has ever done for us. They ask this as if digital health was non-existent or not useful. As if medicine should be practiced and healthcare should be delivered like it has been for hundreds of years. While we need to preserve real values such as the human touch and the creativity of physicians, the future will be and must be technological and digital.
The era of technological advances we live in brought new opportunities for improving care; and digital health is the essence of the transition. So instead of a long philosophical essay about why digital health is the only way to go, I give you 60 responses to the pressing question: what digital health has ever done for us.
Look at Medical robots! How they
Look at artificial intelligence! How it
Look at social media and smartphones! How they
Look at health sensors! How they
Look at virtual reality! How it
Look at augmented reality! How it
Look at 3D printing! How it
Look at nanotechnological devices! How they
Look at genomics! How it
Digital health and the related technologies are amazing! They don’t take away anything from us but extend our capabilities in health, healthcare and medicine. But only if we embrace them and know how to get the most out of them.
And how can we get the most out of technologies? If we get gradually better and better in skills that make us human. Everything else from repetitive tasks to big data analytics should be taken care of by technologies.