Digital Health represents the rapid entry of advanced technological applications into the Health Sector, based on the increasing capabilities of computer systems to perform cognitive functions, with the simultaneous ability to adapt and learn. Digital technology can contribute to the focus of the European Health Policy both in the radical restructuring of Health Systems, and in the adoption of new models for the clinical management of diseases and patients, prevention and rehabilitation. Evidence based medicine can be adopted in all prevention, diagnosis and treatment procedures, provided the operation of powerful computer systems, capable of gathering and analyzing a large volume of imaging, biometric, genomic and other medical data.
The gradual digital transformation of Health Systems requires a clear e-governance strategy, for the harmonization of standards and the establishment of a single electronic Health Record (e-health record) standard. The fulfillment of the necessary technical and institutional conditions leads to the assurance of interoperability between the installed systems, necessary to achieve continuity in healthcare and quality in the services provided. The development of new, numerous applications, such as teleconsultation, telemedicine, the use of “smart machines” through sensors or mobile phones (mobile health), robotics and cross-border electronic prescribing, are radically changing the model of established diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. They provide the possibility of systematic monitoring of patients outside health facilities, reducing long-term hospitalizations, while the digital circulation of medical data, teleconsultation and telemedicine can ensure coherence of medical care (integrated care) and the monitoring of therapeutic and pharmaceutical monitoring.
The use of advanced digital applications opens new horizons for the development of strategies that support healthy and active aging, independent living and improving the quality of life of large groups of elderly or chronically ill patients as conditions are created for changing the traditional “medical-centric model” to a more human-centered system. In the EU, this consideration has been the central choice of the European Health Policy as Digital Health 2020 for the last decade, with a budget of around 80 billion. euros, covers the field of Research and Innovation and the thematic areas of the program include actions for Health, under the general title Health, Demographic change and Wellbeing with a multitude of trans-European and transnational actions.
In Greece, electronic prescribing combined with the Personal Physician, play a catalytic role in the development of Primary Health Care to decongest the Central Nursing Units, but also health care is improved in the 168 remote inhabited islands and in critical areas with the necessary contribution of the applications of Telemedicine.
Professor of Dermatology
President Hippocratic Academy of Thermal Medicine
President World Academy of Chinese & Complimentary Medicine