Digital Health Innovation: Moving Toward Individualized Medicine


This is a guest post by Robert Greenberg, CEO at Second Sight.

Health care and consumer technology are converging, and the resulting innovations in digital health are revolutionizing the historically conservative field of healthcare. From online doctor’s appointments to apps for organ transplants, it seems that healthcare, which represents nearly 20% of the United States’ economy, is finally undergoing a technology transformation. Digital health innovation is allowing the industry to move beyond the previously generalized treatment approaches to an era of individualized medicine with endless opportunity.

Digital health innovations cover all aspects of medicine, from the way we interact with our healthcare providers, to the accuracy of diagnosis and the efficacy of treatment. Technology allows us to touch people’s lives, both through groundbreaking innovation and spreading awareness. It opens new doors of communication and education to the consumer that were simply not available in the past.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and the engineers, physicians and investors behind any digital health innovation need access to the population that can benefit from their product or service. Enter social media. Social media platforms are a lightning fast way to disseminate information to a large and diverse population. Given the fact that Americans spend 121 billion minutes on social networking sites per month, it is not surprising that using social media to spread news has become standard operating procedure at most companies.

We were thrilled when our implantable device to restore partial vision to the blind became ready for the general public. With approval from the FDA, we knew that we finally had the opportunity to communicate to the patients who could benefit from this approval, as well as their caretakers, with a bit more freedom. The population we work with is passionate, as is any consumer looking for a solution to their problems, and the chance to communicate with them was thrilling.

It’s a very exciting time to be involved in scientific discovery and we are thrilled to share the stories of people whose lives our device has touched. It’s a true marriage of exciting technological advances and the ability to share that news with the world.

As global citizens in the 21st century, it is just as important to be a part of the greater conversation about maximizing people’s quality of life. Consumer technology such as social platforms, mobile apps, and the internet in general, have enabled us to connect with the very people whose lives we seek to improve, as well as their families, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Society is more curious, engaged, informed, and technologically saturated than ever before. People want to be a part of the conversation, which can benefit all of us in terms of credibility, funding, and future innovation. It may be challenging to adapt high-tech medicine to a mainstream audience, but it is manageable if done efficiently.

Innovation in healthcare will be a major focus at SMW NYC. Join us and Merck to get more.

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