Digital health care involves several different industries and services. Many Americans incorporate digital health care into their everyday lives using “smart” technologies, wearable monitoring devices and data collection apps.
Others use digital means to connect with their doctors or health insurance providers. Medical practitioners also rely on digital health care advancements, with many using innovative new technologies to improve their connection with patients. The use of new software and devices in the diagnosis and treatment of patients is another key area of digital health care.
There are many digital health care companies, from large and well-established groups to smaller start-up companies. The services and products offered vary widely, covering everything from health insurance apps to heart rate monitors and technologically advanced health clinics. Many of these companies work with partners to develop new products or research medical breakthroughs, combining these efforts with their digital product base. Some of the most well-known and most wide-reaching digital health care companies as of writing are discussed below.
In a similar manner to other large and well-established technology companies, Samsung is in the process of marketing various devices and apps to help customers monitor their health. They are also committed to developing new technologies to increase the number of medical services they can provide.
Patients can track the status of their health for general wellness management, and patients with chronic conditions can be given much-needed everyday assistance for their conditions. In addition, the data collected through these mobile devices contributes to the rise of coordinated electronic medical records and wide-reaching health analysis. All this information helps to improve and create new digital care devices.
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In addition to its devices and software, Samsung has recently started a collaboration with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), creating the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab. This program brings medical professionals and technological innovators together to create new concepts and products for the digital health market.
Apple’s monitoring technologies, using apps and wearable devices such as the Apple watch, are already used for many digital health care purposes. The concept of wearable data devices is considered key to the development of digital health, and Apple is well known for its contribution to this development.
Apple is currently expanding the application for the wide range of data its technology collects through the Apple HealthKit. This allows the health data of Apple users to be gathered into an electronic health record, accessible through devices such as smartphones or tablets. The record can be monitored through the devices and applications used, as well as being accessible by the customers’ physicians when required.
This means many other digital health companies can now use the data platform provided by Apple. Customer data can be analyzed in several ways for various means, such as reading blood pressure or glucose levels and applying these to a patient’s medical requirements. Apple is also expanding into direct health care, setting up its own primary health care centers in California under the name of AC Wellness.
Google and its parent company, Alphabet, have recently entered the digital health field through both investments and technology. The possibilities of Google Glass have been explored by surgeons during their work, for example, and the technology has been adapted by other digital health companies. One such company, Augmedix, uses Google Glass as a scribe to ease the labor requirements of taking a patient’s history during an appointment.
The company is also funding research into a multitude of health projects, from health insurance to research into treatment and disease prevention. These projects may lead to the invention or adaptation of digital health hardware or software, both of which fall under Alphabet and Google’s areas of strength.
New digital health care initiatives are also being supported by these larger companies. For example, Google and Alphabet have invested in Oscar, a company working to assist customers with health insurance, connecting them with doctors and other medial specialists.
IBM’s famous Watson system is being utilized in a variety of ways to develop innovations in digital health. The computer is being used to advance the process of collecting and analyzing data for customers or patients, with the goal of allowing large amounts of data to be used to help patients develop more effective treatment plans. In addition to the use of its own technology, IBM has expanded its role in the digital health world by investing in several other digital health companies. These include:
Intel is particularly well known for the technology it has developed for use in various medical devices. Its processors are used in a variety of ways for medical tasks, through different types of digital technology. The advances made by the company utilize the recent expansion of medical data and monitoring technology available, often with a primary focus of assisting medical professionals directly.
Intel works with digital health care partners, investing and assisting in their efforts to meet health care needs, such as helping lower-income international communities. They also work directly on joint ventures, collaborating with health care professionals to create new applications for their technology.
Many Americans already use Amazon’s services as a part of their digital health care, by utilizing the company’s online shopping service to buy medication and health care devices. The ability to compare various products is important, as well as the ability to select medications not normally sold in local markets and have them delivered on short notice. This is especially important for patients who live in rural areas.
The technology Amazon developed for its commercial activities can also be used in digital health care. Digital solutions for home-based medical care can incorporate the technology used for its voice-activated home shopping device Alexa, allowing patients to contact their doctors quickly and easily whenever needed, even saving lives in the case of an emergency.
In addition to its increasing status as a digital health retailer, Amazon is also entering the health care service in a larger way. Amazon is in the process of developing a health care company, focused on incorporating the newest technology into a new health care program.
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