Digital Health: What It Is And How It Works

Digital health resources provide us with a new way to address the difficulties we face in managing our health, especially in the face of a chronic illness.

The e-Health, telemedicine, apps or the recent emergence of wearables as bracelets activity show that technology facilitates the prevention and care of our health. These tools allow both us and health professionals to have immediate access to the information generated by the impact of our lifestyle habits on health. Also, they make possible better control of diseases, which favors compliance with treatments.

The union of digital health with health education leads the citizen to his empowerment, that is, to become the main protagonist and last recipient of a large part of the decisions made regarding his health or the health of his family.

What Benefits Does Digital Health Provide?

Digital health brings many benefits to general medicine. Among them, the following stand out:

  • It enables the creation of individualized treatment plans, adapted to the characteristics and needs of the citizen.
  • Improves the doctor-patient relationship by being able to share relevant data in real time.
  • It allows connecting health services with citizens, avoiding unnecessary travel and facilitating care for people who live in remote geographical areas.
  • Involves the patient or family members in the care of their health.

Let us anticipate deterioration of our health by helping to distinguish in time, to be treated, the signs and symptoms indicative of them.

It helps to identify groups at risk of suffering from a particular disease.

It facilitates more efficient use of health services, optimizing and prioritizing resources.

The e-Patients, The Patients Of The Future

The patient profile, thanks to the use of the Internet, is changing. He is not a passive figure about his health, but an active agent.

According to a study by the National Observatory of Telecommunications and the Information Society ( ONTSI ), more than 65% of Spanish adults access health content on the Web. They are becoming “e-patients,” that is, in people who integrate digital in the care of their health or of the others in their environment.

They seek information, participate in social networks or patient communities, choose their doctor based on the assessments provided by other people, communicate with professionals or institutions to perform medical consultations … The “e-patient” is a person who wants to have a higher power of participation and want to be responsible in making decisions that affect their health.

Digital Health Resources For Respiratory Patients

From Lovexair we are aware of the changes that are taking place in our society. With our work in the field of digital health, we contribute to improve the quality of life of patients, help in their learning and health education and promote a better relationship between them, their families and health professionals.

These Are Our Two Most Relevant Initiatives In Digital Health:

HappyAir ecosystem. This model of digital health validated clinically in 2017 is aimed at helping patients affected by a chronic respiratory disease. In this ecosystem, a therapeutic educator specialized in respiratory and active life favors patients to follow an individualized plan of comprehensive care, monitoring their evolution on a daily basis. The patient can also invite his doctors or therapists to accompany him and follow their progress together.

The Dangers Of Alternative Therapies

Choosing an alternative therapy to treat a serious illness can delay the start of effective treatment and decrease the chances of survival.

Alternative Or Complementary Therapies?

Within the so-called alternative therapies, there are a large number of techniques and procedures that increasingly have more followers. In many cases, the qualifiers “alternative” and “complementary” are used interchangeably. However, they are completely different concepts according to their use. If an alternative practice is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered complementary and, if it is used instead of the traditional one, it is called alternative. Most users combine non-conventional methods as an aid to Western medicine.

One of the objectives of our health-related government body that belongs to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is to provide evidence on alternative health approaches, to determine what help and why what does not work and what is safe. It classifies them into three large groups:

Comprehensive systems, which include Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

Natural therapies, which include a variety of products such as plants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, often sold as dietary supplements.

Mind and body practices, which incorporate a diverse group of procedures or techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher, such as yoga, chiropractic, osteopathy or meditation. In this group, there are also relaxation techniques, tai chi, qi gong, reiki, hypnotherapy and different movement therapies, such as the Feldenkrais method, the structural integration of Rolfing and the psychophysical integration of Trager.

Risks Of Complementary And Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies, including those based on the use of plants, can cause undesirable side effects

All treatments should begin, even conventional ones can have risks. However, when it comes to therapies without any scientific proof of their efficacy, as in the case of complementary or alternative therapies, the danger increases exponentially.

This type of therapy – even those based on the use of plants, natural products or “dietary” supplements – is not without side effects and interactions if combined with conventional drugs.

Faced with a disease, especially if they are severe cases for the life of the person, like cancer, there is the danger of opposing or postpone a treatment that has been proven scientifically effective and creates a false sense of security. Recent research published in JAMA Oncology indicates that the greater number of complementary therapies used by women diagnosed with breast cancer, the more likely they are to reject chemotherapy. And also points out that the longer the start of this treatment is extended, the fewer chances of healing.

We must remember that some alternative therapists propose to abandon traditional medicine with the promise that their procedure or technique is more effective to treat the disease in question.

Beware Of Alternative Therapies To Treat Cancer

From the Spanish Association Against Cancer warn that we must be very careful with alternative and complementary therapies. They advise that it is essential to be well informed about the scientific data on the effectiveness of the treatment and the risk involved. And, although there is a considerable amount of scientific information that indicates that some complementary methods could help control some symptoms of cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy, scientific studies are limited. Nor are there reliable data that show that any alternative method can cure or stop cancer and even prevent it.

Thank is why, it is vital not to replace conventional medical treatment or delay it and, if any product is being taken or is expected to be used, always consult with the doctor or the reference specialist. They also insist on the need to be very conscientious when choosing the professional in charge of applying the chosen technique.