The world of healthcare has totally transformed over the last few decades, thanks to breakthrough technological advancements. Now, there are three terms that get thrown around a lot (and much more coming …): Digital Health (DH), HealthTech (HT), and MedTech (MT).
On the surface, they might all seem like the same thing, but after diving deep into them, I learned that they’re totally different concepts. In this post, I’m going to give you a rundown of each of them, and share some juicy insights too.
Digital Health: The Umbrella Term
in a nutshell DH refers to the convergence of health and technology with the goal of improving health outcomes and delivery
Digital Health has its origins in the accelerated growth and subsequent disruptions of digital technologies during the 70s to 90s, specifically in the fields of communications and computational sciences. This technological leap paved the way for the digitalization of healthcare, leading to a massive creation of data and available datasets, crowd-sourced from multiple platforms, such as medical imaging, health information systems, genomics and sequencing, and other relevant fields. The discipline aims at enhancing the efficiency of healthcare delivery, with a core focus on the nP’s in healthcare, a.k.a. and Promotion, Participation, Personalization, Precision, Prediction, P…., moving beyond the one-fits-all current paradigm (that I hate by the way!). It leverages information, computational and communication technologies associated with generating and analyzing large datasets to build knowledge or optimize outcomes. Digital health solutions are developed from the perspective of both tech experts and caregivers.
Digital health encompasses HealthTech and MedTech but goes beyond them by including consumer-based health and wellness technologies. It covers the overlap of the medical and engineering worlds, bringing them together to develop innovative solutions that improve healthcare outcomes. One of the significant benefits of digital health is its ability to increase access to healthcare services, particularly in rural and remote areas. Telemedicine, for example, allows healthcare providers to consult with patients and deliver care remotely, using video conferencing, remote monitoring, and other digital tools.
Biggest areas or elements, already established of DH are #telemedicne as just mentioned, #wearable and #mobile technologies, and #extended reality, and #medical robotics, #machine learning, and #computational simulation (#blockchain is coming!).
Digital health also has the potential to improve patient engagement and empowerment, allowing patients to take control of their health and participate actively in their care. With the use of mobile apps, wearable devices, and other technologies, patients can monitor their health status and manage their chronic conditions, providing them with greater independence and improved quality of life.
HealthTech: the Core Term
short version: HT encompasses any technology applied to improving healthcare and focused on a problem, mostly self-applied outside of healthcare facilities and independent of caregivers
HealthTech is an all-inclusive term that encompasses everything related to healthcare and technology focused on a problem and seeking any solution. It includes software, hardware, devices, and physical solutions that use innovative technologies to improve healthcare delivery, gain insights into medicines and treatments, or make healthcare more accessible.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health technology is “the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve the quality of lives“
HealthTech is not limited to a particular industry vertical. Instead, it describes a group of companies that focus on improving healthcare delivery while decreasing costs. This vertical includes the use of technology services, like cloud computing, internet services, and social mobility, to optimize patient-centric healthcare. It is a broad term that covers everything from websites and email to the software and hardware we use to deploy them.
One of the significant benefits of HT is its ability to improve patient outcomes while decreasing healthcare costs. HT, such as electronic health records (EHR), can help healthcare providers make more informed decisions and reduce errors. Remote monitoring and telemedicine solutions can also improve patient outcomes by providing timely care and reducing hospital readmissions.
MedTech: The Specific Part of HealthTech
briefly, therapeutic and diagnostic technologies used by clinicians (any caregiver) to treat existing medical issues and detect medical conditions
MedTech, on the other hand, is a specific part of HealthTech that covers therapeutic and diagnostic technologies used by clinicians. While HT is centered around optimizing personal and preventative care, the medical technology vertical focuses on therapeutic technologies and medical devices that treat existing medical issues and diagnostic technologies that detect medical conditions.
MedTech includes a wide range of technologies, including robots, imaging technologies, and implantable devices, among others. These technologies can help improve patient outcomes by providing more precise and accurate diagnoses, reducing the risk of complications, and shortening recovery times.
One of the significant benefits of MedTech is its ability to enable minimally invasive surgeries and provide image-guidance, which can reduce hospital stays and promote faster recovery times. It can also help healthcare providers make more informed decisions by providing them with more detailed and accurate diagnostic information.
- HealthTech, MedTech, and Digital Health are different concepts that are often used interchangeably.
- Digital Health is a broad umbrella that refers to the convergence of health and technology with the goal of improving efficiency.
- HealthTech is any intersection of healthcare and technology, focused on a problem, and mostly self-applied outside of healthcare facilities and independently of caregivers.
- MedTech is a specific part of HealthTech that focuses on therapeutic and diagnostic technologies used by caregivers and in healthcare facilities.
- Digital Health refers to the convergence of health and technology to improve health delivery and outcomes, including consumer-based health and wellness technologies.
- ***tech are established terms, and many more are coming into (femTech, insurTech, bioTech, …)