The 21st-century healthcare landscape has been dramatically shaped by the rise of digitized healthcare solutions aimed at making healthcare more accessible, affordable, and personalized. In the third episode of Sheppard Mullin’s Health-e Law Podcast, Viveka Rydell-Anderson, the CEO of Pacific Vision Foundation, delved into the increasing relevance of digital health technology, particularly in the area of specialized care, with Sheppard Mullin’s Digital Health Team co-chairs, Sara Shanti and Phil Kim.
Improving Access to Specialized Care
The digital revolution has made significant inroads into specialized healthcare services, which generally include care that is traditionally provided by specialists and is more difficult to access than primary care – for instance, mental health support, elder care, and certain diagnostic services, among others. One of the most impactful advancements is telehealth, which received a significant boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The convenience of telehealth has led to significant adoption increases, with 80% of physicians using virtual visits in 2022, up from just 14% in 2016. Despite these advancements, the digital divide remains an obstacle, with issues such as unreliable internet connection or lack of access to technology impeding use of digital health tools.
Supporting Patients and Providers
Digital health also promotes improvement of patient care due to its inherent advantages. For example, remote and continuous monitoring of patients empowers healthcare providers with a deeper understanding of patients’ conditions and can even detect and diagnose diseases at earlier stages. In addition, with rising concerns surrounding provider burnout, digital health technologies can reduce administrative tasks and enable healthcare providers to focus on patient care. For example, tools like natural language recognition and artificial intelligence can automate administrative tasks such as note-taking, reducing the administrative burdens often associated with traditional care models.
The Bottom Line
Digital health technologies can dramatically improve access to specialized healthcare, enhance patient outcomes, and lighten the administrative burden experienced by healthcare providers. Scale, usability, and security will be essential considerations as these technologies become increasingly integrated into healthcare delivery systems.
To listen to this episode, click here.