At the intersection of health, technology and health care are the devices and instruments that capture physiological data. Digital health is an approach focused on using such technology to monitor and provide relevant health-related data about individuals. These technologies include a rapidly expanding array of consumer products and wearables, as well as complex clinical care platforms in academic medical centers. These new devices need to be tested and validated, which also falls into the digital health rubric.
Digital health is an aspect of precision medicine in which patients and healthy people can participate, in partnership with clinicians and researchers. For patients, this might mean collecting data with an FDA-approved mobile device or app, such as a continuous glucose monitor or a mobile heart monitor app. Such data provide a practitioner immediate information about a patient, and when collected from large numbers of people, can reveal patterns and trends that are clinically useful. Data collection by patients gives them “ownership” of the process; they become more motivated to track and adjust their behavior to prevent disease, to recognize changes and to follow care plans developed in consultation with their providers.