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  • Writer's pictureadelabernad

Digital health to solve healthcare challenges and implement P4 Medicine

It is a fact that, in developed countries, we are living healthier and longer lives thanks to the revolutionary transformation of the nature of medicine and healthcare in the last decades. On the one hand, the shift of paradigm from a delayed interventional approaches-based reactive medicine to a preventive, predictive, personalised and participatory medicine (referred to as P4 Medicine) is leading a revolutionary transformation of healthcare that seeks solutions for a longer and healthier life. On the other hand, the progressive integration of digital technologies in healthcare systems and practices has enabled great progress and new opportunities for diagnosis and therapy in the health sector.

However, global health threats and concerns are still present in our society. Even though research and better living standards have reduced infectious diseases-caused mortality and morbidity or improved therapy and quality of life for some patients with chronic illness, multidimensional factors such as anthropogenic impact (pollution, stress, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyle), genetics or altered microbiome are the leading causes of current health burden and diseases. This, together with the increasing ageing population, the high

prevalence on mental health issues or the imminent and threatening antibiotic-resistant pathogens crisis represent some of the biggest health-related challenges that developed countries are facing.

Fortunately, the convergence of the use of digital technologies, implementation of e-health approaches and the patient-centred medicine as well as patient-oriented research is changing health outcomes for society and enhancing our ability to detect and respond to threats. Digitalisation, the availability of large population datasets, innovative scientific knowledge and analysis and the integration of systems approach to biology and medicine hold promise for a greater cost-effective and sustainable future for healthcare systems.

Here is a short analysis on how digital technologies can help tackling some of the most relevant challenges flagged by the European Union. The table below depicts some examples of potential usages of digital technologies to prevent, predict, personalise diagnosis, treatment and follow up health disorders and foster patient participation in healthcare in order to work towards solutions to current challenges that threaten our healthcare systems and wellbeing.

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