Digital Health - An Introduction

Digital health is an intersection between technology and healthcare that uses computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors. With the increased amount of data being produced Artificial Intelligence as a Service and Ecosystem as a service for cAI open doors for the global coalition of AI clinicians, individual hospitals, networking, and training opportunities. WHO, FDA, and NHS have been continuously releasing guidelines to cope with digital health transformation.

Primary Category
Digital Neurology
Secondary Category
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Defining Digital Health

  • Conceptually,
    • Intersection between technology and healthcare
    • Digital transformation of healthcare
    • includes: software (apps), hardware and services
  • Digital Health Characteristics
    • Digitized - Digitization of all care touchpoints and backend process in healthcare
    • Demonetized - Decreasing cost by automation
    • Dematerialized - Materials are getting cheaper and faster including digital
    • Decentralized - Digital first allows to be global first
    • Democratized - Stakeholder economy with voting by wallet
    • Deregulated - Regulation is slow to catch with digital innovation
    • Deceptive - Suddenly becomes the norm (e.g digital camera)
    • Disruptive - Completely replaces older model (e.g. LED lights)
    • Exponential Growth - Algorithmic growth affects billions simultaneously

Defining Digital Health Technologies

Definition of digital health technologies (DHT)
A system that uses computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors for healthcare and related uses. These technologies span a wide range of uses, from applications to support general wellness to medical device applications such as apps that provide a reminder to stay out of the sun to limit UV exposure. They include technologies intended for use as a medical product such as digital therapeutic that provides cognitive behavior therapy, a medical product that uses consumer technology in fitting a hearing aid, or as an adjunct to other medical products (i.e., devices, drugs, and biologics) such as an app to boost adherence to therapy. They may also be used to develop or study medical products.

Benefits of Digital Health Technologies

  • Quadruple Aim
    • ↑ Outcomes
    • ↓ Cost
    • ↑ Patient Engagement
    • ↑ Provider Satisfaction
  • 4Ps of Digital Health
    • Predictive
    • Preventive
    • Participatory
    • Personalized
  • Other
    • ↓ inefficiencies
    • ↓ inequality
    • ↓ fraud
    • ↓ abuse
    • ↓ inequality
    • ↑ access
    • ↑ Value (quality at cost)

Understanding digital transformation

  • Digitization: The transition from Analog to Digital. Use old workflow
  • Digitalization: Improve the business process by leveraging data, New Workflow
  • Digital Transformation: End-to-end transformation with enhanced core competencies, New Use cases & Experiences
Core Competencies
Analog to Digital
Old Workflows
PDF of paper Maps
Analog-Digital to Digital
New Workflows
Digital Transformation
End-to-end transformation
New workflow New Use Cases
Google maps DoorDash Uber/Lyft

Understanding digital Shift

  • Cultural Shift in the making
    • eCommerce
    • Remote work
    • Remote learning
    • Online Entertainment
    • Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
  • Impact of Pandemic accelerated the digital shift
  • It is estimated that the pandemic moved digitization at least 7 years forward

Digital Health Funding Landscape

  • $57.2 billion in funding in 2021
  • 79% jump from the $32 billion raised globally in 2020

Figure 1: Global Digital health funding

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Convergence of digital technologies

  • Digital technologies are converging at a record pace
  • Each of the below will be discussed in individual chapters
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
      • Computer Vision
      • Predictive Analytics
      • Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
      • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
    • Mobile Technologies
      • 5G
      • Cloud Computing
      • Mobile Health (mHealth)
      • Healthcare Internet of things (hIoT)
    • Virtual Technology
      • Virtual Care Continuum (VCCs)
      • Virtual Clinical Trials (VCTs)
      • Virtual Hospital at Home (VHH)
    • Intelligent Reality
      • Augmented Reality (AR)
      • Virtual Reality (VR)
      • Mixed Reality (MR)
    • Digital Therapeutics
      • Digital Twins
      • Digital Devices
      • Remote Patient Monitoring
    • Tokenization
      • Non Fungible Tokens (NFT)
      • Blockchain
    • Genomics
      • Sequencing
      • Editing
    • Manufacturing
      • 3D
      • Adaptive

Importance of Artificial Intelligence in digital Health

  • With the increased amount of data being produced
  • AI is not only an important but necessary part of digital transformation
  • Continuum of applied knowledge
    • Information > Data > Knowledge > Wisdom

Figure 2: Artificial Intelligence at the heart of Disruptive converging technologies

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Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS)

  • AI in healthcare will develop as a service model
  • Exactly as Sofware-as-a-service (SaaS) model
    • Cloudbase
    • API Based
    • Solve individual pain points
    • Produce value in niche areas

Figure 3: Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) - Plug-n-play modular services to enhance and enable new competencies

notion image

Figure 4. “Ecosystem as a service” for cAI.

Overview of the EaaS approach for cAI with its three main components: 1. Global coalition of AI clinicians, 2. Training opportunities, and 3. Networking opportunities, integrated with an individual hospital system.
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Source: Ishii-Rousseau, J. E., Seino, S., Ebner, D. K., Vareth, M., Po, M. J., & Celi, L. A. (2022). The “Ecosystem as a Service (EaaS)” approach to advance clinical artificial intelligence (cAI). PLOS Digital Health1(2), e0000011.

International Public Health and Governmental Response

World Health Organization (WHO)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

National Health Service (NHS)


Decreasing Costs

  • Computation
  • Storage
  • Bandwidth
  • Capitol
  • Gene Sequencing


  • There are increasing sources that available with open-access
  • Increasing paper are published with code
  • CardinalKit - An Open Source Platform & Codebase for Digital Health Research and Applications

Figure 5: Curse of Dimensionality in Healthcare Data & Convergence of Digital Technologies - Enabled by Artificial Intelligence

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Challenges & Limitations

  • Information Inequality
    • Information gap has led to asymmetric access to data leading to further inequality
  • Data Related
    • Big Data (5 Vs)
    • Curse of Dimensionality
    • Data governance
    • Data Ownership
    • Data Standardization
    • Cybersecurity
    • Bias in Data
    • Interoperability
    • Data Shift
  • Algorithm
    • Interpretability
    • Explainability
    • Transparency
    • Bias in Modeling
    • Model Shift
  • Ethical Challenges
    • Equity
    • Access
    • Empathy
    • Trust
    • Consent
    • Privacy
  • Regulatory Related
    • Liability
    • Accountability
    • US RoadMap
      • Software-as-a-device (SaMD)
    • UK RoadMap
      • NHS pathway
    • EU Roadmap
  • Education Related
    • Medical education
    • Health education




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Further Reading

  • WHO Guideline: recommendations on digital interventions for health system strengthening. World Health Organization. Published online June 6, 2019. doi:/entity/reproductivehealth/publications/digital-interventions-health-system-strengthening/en/index.html


  • The Impact of a Shifting Care Environment on Healthcare Facility Operators. (2019, October 2).
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution eBook : Schwab, Professor Dr.-Ing. Klaus: Kindle Store. (2022).
  • Big Ideas: The Tech Breakthroughs Investors Shouldn’t Miss in 2019. (2019, January 14). ARK Invest.
  • The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives (Exponential Technology Series): 9781982109660: Diamandis, Peter H., Kotler, Steven: Books. (2022).
  • The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society: Azhar, Azeem: 9781635769098: Books. (2022).
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Junaid Kalia MD

Written by

Junaid Kalia MD

Founder NeuroCare.AI, Practicing Neurologist, sub-specialized in the field of Neurocritical Care, Stroke & Epilepsy

Filzah Faheem MD

Aspiring Neurologist. Research Fellow at AINeuroCare Academy. Epilepsy Sub-section Coordinator.

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