Why digital technology in healthcare?

What is the digital transformation and WHY is it relevant for healthcare professionals and citizens?

Explaining the BIG WHY


To fully understand why there is a massive focus on digitization and we are constantly met with initiatives to digitize, we have asked a leader in Health Care to explain WHY it is so important and what we stand to gain from the digital transformation.

Why are we striving for a digital transformation? What is the incentive?

Watch the film and learn of the perspectives of a leader in Healthcare.

3 priorities

The European Commission published a Communication on the digital transformation of health and care. The Communication aims to empower citizens and to build a healthier society.

The Communication on the digital transformation of health and care identifies 3 priorities:

  1. Citizens’ secure access to their health data, including across borders, enabling citizens to access their health data across the EU.
  2. Personalized medicine through shared European data infrastructure, allowing researchers and other professionals to pool resources (data, expertise, computing processing and storage capacities) across the EU.
  3. Citizen empowerment with digital tools for user feedback and person-centered care using digital tools to empower citizens to look after their health, stimulate prevention and enable feedback and interaction between users and healthcare providers.

Source / References

What we have learned:

Implementing and working with technology takes time, practice and a change of mind-set because healthcare professionals are expected to adopt a form of digital literacy. Additionally, they must merge acquired digital competencies with their professionalism.

Better patient experience


A study across more than 500 articles on the effects of the use of telemedicine solutions shows that the biggest gain is better patient experience.

Evidence on telemedicine

In 2020, an online database for evidence based telemedicine solutions in hospitals was launched. The database provides an overview of the effect of telemedicine solutions for patients in hospitals and is – as far as is known – the world’s largest of its kind. The database contains data extracts and assessments from more than 500 scientific articles.


You can search the database and filter your search on medical specialties, technology, clinical effect or patient experience.


Source / References

Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT)

The DELIVER Project


Trends and expectations from citizens


What expectations must healthcare professionals increasingly anticipate from citizens (patients) as a consequence of a more digitized society?

Looking at today and ahead

If we take a look at our society we can see that digital technology already is integrated in many parts of our lives. Therefore, we can only assume that future citizens will expect the same level of digital services in the healthcare sector. Moreover, we see a tendency of the citizen increasingly becoming a healthcare consumer who expects that his or her individual needs are taken into account. Here, we outline 4 future trends regarding the expectations of the citizens towards the healthcare sector:

Equality in the meeting with healthcare providers

Knowledge is becoming increasingly democratized meaning that information on disease and treatment is becoming easily available and citizens are generally more well-informed. Collection of citizen-generated data, e.g. through smartwatches is increasing significantly. A study from the Danish company Operate shows that 41% of 1.500 Danes collect health data on their own initiative and 60% of Danes agree that citizen-generated data will overall provide better treatment in the public health system.

The citizen therefore meets the healthcare professionals with the expectation that their own contributions will be taken seriously. Instead of a hierarchical relation where the healthcare professional is the expert, the citizens will expect a more equal cooperation with the professionals. Generally, the citizens are expected to have a more central role in their own treatment.

Connection between healthcare services

In many aspects of our lives, we are used to connected services. Payment for public transformation, where we pay for train, bus and metro with one ticket, digital identity connected to public digital services, digital communication, apps that connect to a smartwatch etc. In some countries more than others. This leads to expectations for cooperation between healthcare providers, data sharing and seamless connections between sectors and professionals. And even expectations of data sharing between the healthcare sector and one’s closest relatives, who might have an important role in one’s treatment.

When and where it suits me

Many people are getting used to online banking, internet shopping and virtual meetings through for example Zoom, Meet and WhatsApp. We buy groceries and takeaway over the internet and have it brought directly to our homes. In many places, we also see an explosion in self-measurement through smartwatches.

All in all, we are getting used to services being increasingly accessible to us at all times of the day and delivered in our home instead of us going to the service.

Expectedly, this will lead to increased demands for telemedicine and video consultations, chat, photo sharing, self-booking etc. which is already widespread in some countries. Also, treatment in your own home rather than in the clinic, home monitoring, use of wearables and patient reported outcome (PRO) data is likely to increase. In time, it is likely that there will also be a demand for drones for transportation of goods, blood samples etc. as well as robots for e.g. rehabilitation in the home.

Treatment and information adapted to me

In a time where gene sequencing is becoming cheap enough for most to afford and where personalized medicine is under rapid development, there will expectedly be a push for treatment, rehabilitation and even prevention adapted specifically to our genome, risk factors and personal preferences.

With the information revolution, we have easy access to information as well as artificial intelligence and algorithms, that predict our needs and preferences and personalize the services and offers, we are introduced to. This is widespread with services like Netflix, Youtube, TikTok, Amazon etc. Through social media groups like Facebook we have access to social networks targeted to our interests, where we can share information and experiences e.g. on treatment choices, medicine etc.

These tendencies implicate that we are decreasingly prone to be satisfied with general information on diseases and treatment that we have to access from a website or a brochure. We will expect to receive knowledge that is adapted and specifically relevant to us. In the jungle of information and misinformation, we will also need professional help to understand what is relevant and trustworthy information and what it means for us.

Source / References


Which needs and expectations do we meet from the citizens?

User involvement in the technological development


Why is it useful to involve healthcare professionals in the development of new technology in the healthcare sector?

An important voice in development and implementation of new technology

Healthcare professionals should and can be an important voice in the development and implementation of new digital technology. Healthcare professionals have relevant knowledge and insights that can and should guide design criteria and development of ethical and responsible healthcare technology. This can be done in close collaboration with other stakeholders such as citizens, designers, researchers, IT engineers and decision makers.

Participatory design

This process has many different names such as participatory design, co-design, universal design, user-centered design, etc.

Source / References


Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark

Michael J. Muller; PICTIVE—an exploration in participatory design, 1991

Questions for reflections

How do you reckon that the involvement of healthcare professionals in technological development could be useful in your area of expertise?

Be specific.