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

Disinfect a hospital room in minutes

Greet patients in a hospital

Allow one day surgeries

Support telemedicine

Carry 400 kilograms of medication

Deliver drugs through the blood stream

Take a blood sample

Reduce stress for elderly patients

Let paralyzed people walk again

Deliver blood samples and equipment

robot nurse

Look at artificial intelligence! How it

Mines medical records

Designs treatment plans

Analyzes radiology images

Provides medical consultation

Assists in medication management

Allows precision medicine

Finds potential new drugs

Seeks out new drug combinations

Analyzes healthcare spending

Improves clinical trials

Reduces waiting times

artificial intelligence in digital health

Look at social media and smartphones! How they

Help crowdsource medical diagnoses

Assist physicians in connecting to each other

Encourage patients find other patients

Provide reliable resources

Keep patients motivated

Smartphone healthcare

Look at health sensors! How they

Tell us the contents of food

Measure vital signs

Improve sleep quality

Help exercise more

Diagnose diseases on the go

Empower patients

Create an artificial pancreas

Health sensors in digital health

Look at virtual reality! How it

Treats phobias

Handles depression and anxiety

Addresses PTSD

Helps reduce pain

Supports the preparations for an operation

Enhances medical training

Improves rehabilitation

Virtual Reality Pain Relief

Look at augmented reality! How it

Finds veins

Shows where defibrillators can be found

Helps mothers with breastfeeding

Provides information about drugs

Assists surgeons

Facilitates medical training

Augmented reality in digital health

Look at 3D printing! How it

Creates personalized bone replacement

Prints out drugs

Builds customized casts

Makes finger splints layer by layer

Produces personalized prosthetics

Forms functional human tissues

3D Printing Prosthetics

Look at nanotechnological devices! How they

Deliver drugs to cancerous tissues

Swim through blood

Perform microsurgery

Nanotechnology - Future of Healthcare

Look at genomics! How it

Helps detect sensitivity to drugs

Determines risks for diseases

Edits genomes

Identifies microbiome

Suggests what to eat

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.

Subscribe to

The Medical Futurist℠ Newsletter

  • News shaping the future of healthcare
  • Advice on taking charge of your health
  • Reviews of the latest health technology