health care

Photo: Envato Elements

Digital healthcare merges technologies to revolutionise the health sector

Digital healthcare is the next step toward empowering people with efficient healthcare advice.

health care

Photo: Envato Elements

Many healthcare-related issues are often ignored because of the high cost of a visit to the doctor’s office. Asking friends can be a disaster as people’s opinions are numerous and it may not be founded on fact or research.

In fact, relying on opinions from friends and colleagues can be risky for your health. Getting some solid advice can be a great challenge. Startups are creating healthcare apps as the solution, paving the way for innovation.  

Dumping Dr Google

Even for most health-related questions, people are drawn toward search engines such as Google. But this may not always be the wisest course of action.

Some of the articles you find on Google may not be founded on solid research by qualified doctors, while others may rely on clickbait to get your attention, while diverting from the topic you initially searched.

Several new startups are utilising modern technology such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). And while these technologies get a lot of attention today, it has been around for a while.

The first simulators with 3D images were used in the 1960s already, and Robert Mann introduced the first medicinal virtual system to decide on the best procedures for orthopaedic procedures back in 1964 already.

Today, augmented reality (AR) is utilised in medical education, allowing both teachers and students to explore subject matter, such as the human anatomy, in more detail.

Watch: The difference between VR and AR

Funding the digital healthcare

Digital healthcare is the next step toward empowering people with efficient health care advice. One progressive startup, K Health, has attracted the attention of investors and has effectively raised $25m in Series B financing.

With their smart healthcare app, they are intent on providing efficiently curated health information that’s personalised for its users. The app is free to use and the company claims it has over 500 000 users already.

Another startup, Zephyr Health, recently landed $15m in funding to help life sciences navigate big data and joined the growing ranks of healthcare apps getting support from investors.

Zephyr Health uses AI to help make personalised treatment plans for patients based on their medical history. In addition, it also identifies better therapies or treatment procedures if the current processes are not working.

Digital healthcare in Africa

A report published by the World Health Organization in 2018 states that about 15 of all hospital activity and expenditure within Africa was a direct result of adverse events, and that the costs of treating safety failures amount to trillions of dollars each year.

Further to that, fewer than 50% of Africa’s population have access to modern health facilities. Ryan Sanderson, Exhibition Director of Africa Health Exhibition and Conferences, explains:

“Africa needs to embrace digital technology on every level. Artificial intelligence, telemedicine, drones, health apps, and mobile solutions will bring healthcare to a whole new level. Smart health needs to be recognised as one of the pillars of a country’s information and communication technology (ICT) policy. ICT is really something that governments need to prioritise for development as a whole.”

Also read – How public-private partnerships are solving South Africa’s healthcare backlog