Digital Wellness Initiative
TREND 1: Mobile Mental Health Support
Along with other fields in healthcare, technology has helped revolutionize mental health support and data collection. This mobile mental health support helps users find solutions, share their experiences, consult with professionals, and perform psychologically calming activities.[i] According to the American Psychological Association, the number of mental health-related self-applications is currently between 10,000 and 20,000. This increase in number has been a cause of worry for most psychologists. However, it was observed that mobile mental health support is encouraging individuals to seek professional help instead of replacing it. Experts say that once users find the smartphone applications useful, they will most likely approach an expert to help them even more.[ii] Mobile mental health support is then seen now as an advantage for mental health treatment due to its reduced costs in services, ability to help users feel more comfortable, and improve access for individuals who are challenged with meeting with professionals in person.[iii]
i: Technology and the future of mental health treatment. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/technology-and-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment/index.shtml
ii: Mental health apps are gaining traction. Available at: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/01/trends-mental-health-apps
iii: Four important mental healthcare technology innovations. Available at: https://healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/4-important-mental-health-care-technology-innovations/
TREND 2: Addressing Racial and Economic Differences in Using Telehealth
With the expansion of digital health and wellness services, healthcare has improved its convenience in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illnesses. These are projected to grow and continue to impact the health of most individuals. As much as digital health is seen to be useful, it is still observed to have different effects for each person, specifically for groups of people without adequate resources. Companies are now seeing the importance of assuring that all individuals, regardless of their background, are given the same opportunity to reach health by using technology, making digital solutions more inclusive. This is being done by community-engaged researchers, peer- and technology-supported self-management training, and innovative methods for engagement.[i]
i: Back to the future: Achieving health equity through health informatics and digital health. Available at: https://mhealth.jmir.org/2020/1/e14512/
TREND 3: Preventive Digital Wellness
New digital health apps and technologies offer users a personalized, predictive and preventive approach in improving their health, treating existing conditions, and recognizing potential health risks and diseases. Digital health interventions that follow the patient’s metrics such as blood pressure, lipids, glucose or weight have proven to have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease patients, their treatment, and the prevention of further cardiovascular outcomes such as rehospitalization and morbidity.[i] Furthermore, studies focused on asthma control through digital health intervention showed abbreviated use of medications and an increased number of days without SABA (short-acting beta agonist) or asthmatic rescue medication.[ii] Additionally, digitals tools for disease tracking as well as behavioral and music-based interventions have been used alongside medication as a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for epilepsy and neurological disorders patients.[iii]
i: American Heart Journal: Digital health intervention during rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial.
Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002870317300510 (accessed 5/3/2021)
ii: JMIR: Digital Health Intervention for Asthma: Patient-Reported Value and Usability.
Available at: https://mhealth.jmir.org/2018/6/e133/
iii: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Mobile Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) for the Treatment of Epilepsy: Development of Digital Therapeutics Comprising Behavioral and Music-Based Interventions for Neurological Disorders.
Available at: https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/pubmed-central/mobile-software-as-a-medical-device-samd-for-the-treatment-of-epilepsy-1ARYiXa4qm?articleList=%2Fsearch%3Fquery%3DDigital%2Bhealth%2Bintervention%2Band%2Bepilepsy
TREND 4: Using Technology for the Rise of Self-Care
Digital self-care has shown to improve and promote self-awareness in a time when access to health services and face-to-face medical examinations may be compromised due to COVID-19.[ii] Digital media technologies help the user to become an active participant in monitoring their health and possible conditions.[i] As one of the positive aspects of COVID-19, more people have been reported to focus on their mental health, wellbeing, physical health and nutrition and increased their self-knowledge.[ii]
i: Social Theory and Health: The Digitally Engaged Patient: Self-Monitoring and Self-Care in Digital Health Era.
ii: Strategy Online: COVID-19 is accelerating digital and self-care trends.
TREND 5: Increased Access to Digital Health and Wellness Services
Over the last decade, there has been an influx of digital health with the improvements of social media platforms, smartphone applications, and technology that users can wear. Digital technology is seen to have massive potential in improving and aiding healthcare providers’ ability to accurately diagnose, treat and prevent diseases, enhancing the delivery of healthcare for all.[i] In 2019, digital health and wellness services were estimated to have a worth of over 106 billion USD. And due to the global pandemic, the worth of these types of services is predicted to increase up to 28.5% more until 2026. It is also expected for this sector to have a fast production of services in all facets of health and wellness.[ii]
i: What is digital health? Available at: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/digital-health-center-excellence/what-digital-health
ii: Digital health market size by technology, telehealth, mHealth, apps, health analytics, digital health system, by component, industry analysis report, regional outlook, application potential, price trends, competitive market share & forecast, 2020-2026. Available at: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/digital-health-market