Why doctors should be concerned about digital health

skeptical-female-doctorKEY TAKEAWAY: Digital health is getting bigger every day, but when patients rely on digital health instead of seeing a health care professional it could lead to more serious conditions and higher health costs. Digital health should empower patients, but it isn’t a replacement for good, sound, medical consultations. 

There isn’t an app or website that can diagnose patients, it has to be done by a qualified healthcare professional yet the hype of digital health would have you believe that apps can do everything.  Apple, who has become just another tech company, would have us believe that iPhone users have the time to record everything from blood pressure to sleep patterns if we keep the iPhone by our side.  But what happens when there are changes to recommended BP readings?  Can an app really look at a person and determine if they need advice on losing weight or exercising?


Not too long ago in Michigan I listened as PCP’s expressed their concerns about patients relying too much on digital health at the expense of visiting their doctor.  In Massachusetts cardiologists said they “didn’t trust apps for data like EKG’s and BP.  Still, all the AMA seems to be worried about is the effect of DTC TV ads?

Digital health is unregulated and is a way for startups to make money.  The idea that we can converse with a doctor, who doesn’t know our medical history,  over the Internet is not what whole person healthcare is about.  However, some doctors have brought this upon themselves.  It often is hard to make appointments on short notice and a short visit can often turn into an hour or two as patients wait to see an HCP.


Consumerism is infecting healthcare in many ways, but apps and websites are NOT a replacement for medical professionals who have years and years of training in treating us.  The value added is that HCP’s see the whole patient and ask questions based on what they see and hear.  Apps will never be able to do  that.