Digital health advances in apps, remote monitoring and patient portals help healthcare professionals treat cardiovascular disorders in a far more effective manner than is possible using traditional technology.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in almost all the Middle Eastern countries. Health Authority of Abu Dhabi estimates that they constitute about 45 percent of all deaths making it the top most health concern in the region.

Changing diet patterns, affluent lifestyle and genetic vulnerabilities due to high consanguineous marriage rate have been identified as reasons for prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in the Middle East. Lack of health specialists in required numbers and high costs of devices like stents, defibrillators and pacemakers further complicate the efforts to manage these challenges.

Cardiovascular diseases being long term problems need long term interventions and sustainable solutions. This is where digital health technology comes into the picture. It can supplement and complement the existing medical technology in coping up with these problems in the following ways:

  • Mobile Health Applications

Mobile medical applications can provide updates on vital stats and other health-related information of the patients round-the-clock no matter where they are and communicate the same to the medical professionals allowing them to review the patients’ situation from afar.

For example, AliveCor System is an ECG case that can be connected to iPhone and carried anywhere to monitor the heart and relay the recorded information to cardiologists or cardiac technicians almost instantly.

Similarly, Think Tank Medical released a free app called CMS ICD that helps doctors determine if a patient is eligible for implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

Airstrip Technologies provides enterprise-wide solutions to connect all diagnostic data generated by all devices to the clinician’s mobile to provide a wholesome picture of a patient’s health.

  • Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring involves collecting health information of patients at home using many sensors and transmitting it in real time to healthcare professionals to manage diseases remotely but effectively.

A very popular remote patient monitoring project by Geisinger Health System using interactive voice response and telemonitoring technology resulted in 44% reduction in hospital readmissions of cardiovascular patients thus improving health care outcomes significantly.

Independa and Grandcare also provide comprehensive remote monitoring solutions that collect information from up to 20 different sensors to monitor health, activity and safety conditions of heart patients.

  • Patient Portals

Patient portals are online healthcare applications that let patients to interact with healthcare providers. Some patient portals are integrated into healthcare provider’s health IT systems but others also exist as stand-alone websites that sell their services to healthcare providers.

These portals provide continuous and wireless sharing of health data gleaned from implanted as well as wearable devices to physicians, patients and healthcare providers enabling them to review it and make quick decisions resulting in effective and in-time treatment and reduced costs

While electronic health records and patient portals do raise privacy concerns, with more nations reviewing and streamlining existing privacy laws they will see widespread adoption in the near future. 

Digital health helps organisations and governments by making it easier for healthcare providers to make decisions by providing them the relevant information about patients continuously in real time even when they are far away. This not only reduces expenses incurred by unnecessary hospital admissions but also helps healthcare personnel provide services to more patients.