13 critical findings on digital health advancements

Digital healthcare technology in the form of mobile applications and wearables has improved patient care and proven to be effective tools in self-management, according to a report released by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

The report outlined current measurements for digital heath implementation, utilization, cost effectiveness and barriers to provide healthcare executives with an outlook on how these technologies could further improve patient care.

Findings of the report included:

  1. Currently, more than 340 consumer wearable devices and 571 published research studies support the use of digital health technology as tools to improving patient health.
  2. General wellness apps are the most abundant type, but the number of health condition management apps is increasing, with 40 percent of current apps.
  3. The volume of available apps far outweighs consumer needs, leaving 85 percent of apps with fewer than 5,000 downloads.
  4. Forty-one apps account for more than 10 million downloads.
  5. There is one high-quality app for each step of the patient journey.
  6. The use of digital health apps and wearables across diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation could save the U.S. healthcare system $7 billion a year.
  7. Digital health apps and wearables could save $46 billion a year.
  8. Some 860 clinical trials, 540 of which occurred in the U.S., include evidence in utilizing apps and text message interventions on smartphones.
  9. Approximately 55 percent of apps in the AppScript App Database have received a rating higher than four stars, an increase from 31 percent in 2015.
  10. Many of the most popular apps include the ability to connect to sensors for detecting vital signs and activity, removing the need for the manual input of data.
  11. Barriers to full implementation of digital health remain but current practices to deliver proper privacy and security guidelines, data integration into EHRs and incentivizing the use of digital health have improved utilization rates.
  12. An estimated 20 percent of large healthcare organizations have moved from pilot digital health programs to full-scale rollouts.
  13. In the next 10 years, digital health is likely to be a routine part of care for most healthcare organizations.

“The research suggests an inflection point is occurring within digital health trends regarding innovation, evidence and adoption,” said Murray Aitken, executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “The convergence of digital drivers combined with other macro factors, aligns with the development of the newly defined, and emerging discipline of human data science that combines advances in information, transformative technology and analytics with human data beyond the patient journey to measure and improve health decisions and outcomes. Within that context, we believe the growing innovation, evidence and adoption of digital health tools can have an increasingly positive impact on human health outcomes overall.”