There are many different ways to describe ‘connected health’, but at the end of the day, the one thing they all agree on is that the goal is better health outcomes.
You may also encounter terms that seem to mean the same thing – like digital health, eHealth, mHealth, telehealth. There are subtle differences, but in reality, they’re all part of the same system – using the power of digital technology to provide better healthcare to patients, even if they’re not in the same room as the doctor.1
It’s probably no surprise that your smartphone plays an important role in connected health. Smartphones are often the pathway to store health information or send information gathered from another digital device. For example, there are blood glucose monitors or blood pressure monitors that sync results with an app on your phone. Learn more about the Omron Blood Pressure Devices Connected Health options here.
Wearables, such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, or more affordable devices are also good examples of the connected health system. But the future is already here, so it’s now possible to get contact lenses that monitor blood glucose, smart pills that monitor medication intake behaviours and the body’s response, and devices that detect falls.2
Gathering all this information is great, but it’s not much good if you don’t do something with it – which is where the true benefits of connected health come to light.
That’s because the ‘connected’ in connected health isn’t just referring to the devices talking to each other, it’s also a way to connect to the health system, especially your doctor or healthcare professional. With connected health, your data from your monitoring devices can be directly shared with your healthcare professional.
The time we spend with our doctor in an appointment is short but precious. Imagine if your doctor was able to access and review all your health results since last appointment, especially if you have a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or elevated cholesterol. Your doctor can’t be with you 24 hours a day, but connected health is the next best thing.
And having the ability to monitor your health over a long period of time while you go about your normal daily life is probably much more useful than a single snapshot during the appointment. For example, controlled scientific studies have also shown that self-measured BP predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality better than just relying on the measurements during your doctor’s appointment.3 Morbidity is a term that refers to other diseases, for example, heart disease or stroke, while mortality refers to death.
As well as providing your doctor with extremely useful information, living the ‘connected health’ life may help you achieve your health goals. When patients become involved in managing their own health using connected health devices and apps, they feel more empowered and in charge of their health,4 which improves ‘self-efficacy’. Self-efficacy is just a psychologist’s way of saying it increases a person’s belief in their ability to complete a task or achieve a goal.5
Connected health is the future of health, but many are already embracing it. In a recently published Deloitte report called ‘Australia’s Health Reimagined’, researchers noted that 65% of us said we’d consider using more advanced home-based technologies to help manage health, while 71% agreed or strongly agreed that sharing their health information would improve communication with their healthcare providers.
If you’d like to join the ‘connected health’ movement, check out the Omron Blood Pressure monitoring options here.