Today, technology is progressing at a phenomenal rate. It was only in 2007 that the first smartphone was released, revolutionising the world of mobile technology forever. In the same year, Netflix started streaming shows online for the first time.
The world of health is no exception. Digital health has found its way into our hospitals, transforming the face of healthcare.
Smartwatches collect data on our heartbeat, blood pressure, sleep cycle and calorie intake, then feed this data into apps to chart our lives. Google has an algorithm that can predict cardiovascular risk by taking scans of the back of your eye.
Digital health is the new frontier of medical care. But the full potential of this field can only be unlocked by healthcare experts who combine an understanding of new technologies with their own skills and experience.
Let’s take a closer look.
New technology, new opportunities
According to Paul Sonnier, author of The Fourth Wave: Digital Health:
“Digital health is empowering us to better track, manage and improve our own and our family’s health, live better, more productive lives, and improve society. It’s also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality and make medicine more personalised and precise.”
In short, digital health doesn’t just let patients accurately monitor their own health and well-being – it also helps medical professionals diagnose and care for their patients. This opens up exciting opportunities for health experts who can unlock data’s potential to save lives.
Picture this: a patient walks in to your office with an illness they don’t understand. You’ve already opened up the secure database containing their medical history. They pull out their smartphone, and after a few taps, it connects to your tablet and uploads up-to-the-second readings of their vital signs. After a few quick questions and a brief check-up, your medical expertise means you see a few possibilities, but you ask for approval to access their family medical history just to be sure.
This is where digital health will really shine.
All that information – long-term history, short-term health data and your own expert insights – gets entered into a diagnostic computing tool. Thirty seconds later, you have a diagnosis. You write a prescription. Within days, the patient is on the mend.
Welcome to tomorrow… today
As processing power, smart phones, computers, social media, artificial intelligence and data technology continue to advance, this scenario is becoming a reality. It may even surpass our expectations. When it comes to technology’s role in shaping the patient care of tomorrow, the possibilities are endless.
At La Trobe University, we’re at the forefront of digital health, developing a full suite of innovative digital health projects. These include:
- Telehealth software to treat stuttering in preschool children and memory rehabilitation in stroke victims.
- An asthma symptoms app to identify asthma risk and prevention.
- A healthcare app to improve communication and healthcare outcomes for post-stroke patients suffering from communication disability.
- An app to measure drinking in remote communities developed in collaboration with Aboriginal health services.
- Exploring the use of social media to combat social isolation.
- Data-driven prediction of patient demand.
- Extensive cybersecurity expertise, typified by the appointment of Professor Jill Slay, our Chair of Cybersecurity.
Here’s to the future
With the way things are changing, it’s difficult to predict exactly what digital health will look like in the next decade or so. What we’re reasonably sure about is this: by 2025, the term ‘digital health’ will likely be redundant. Instead, we’ll simply be referring to ‘health’, and those that work in the industry will be digitally enabled.
As digital health flourishes, healthcare technology specialists will be in demand like never before.
Interested in becoming a digital health trailblazer? We’ll help you future-proof your career with the expertise you need for this exciting new era in healthcare. Develop the skills to meet your ambition, then create better outcomes for your patients.
If you’re a practicing health professional, manager or board member looking to build upon your health knowledge, La Trobe’s Master of Healthcare Analytics equips you with the digital skills you need to thrive in your career. We’ll help you understand how to collect, maintain and analyse complex health data and databases.
You also have the option of studying:
- Our Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Analytics, which offers a comprehensive and practical introduction to health data analytics – both to assist practising health professionals in upskilling and help new workers enter the field.
- Our Graduate Certificate in Digital Health, which teaches foundational digital health knowledge, including health data and datasets, database design and use, visual analytics and health information ethics and law.
- Our Graduate Certificate in Digital Health for Clinical Practice, designed so practising clinicians from all disciplines get a practical introduction to digital health, with a dual focus on decision-making using clinical data and how to use data to improve the quality of care.
- Our Graduate Certificate in Health Data Integrity and Auditing, a specialised course for healthcare sector workers who work with health data and are looking to develop practical knowledge and skills – including the know-how to manage, evaluate and audit datasets and data quality.
You’ll study courses co-designed with industry leaders, healthcare professionals and data specialists. Graduate with a highly sought-after skill set that will set you apart in the competitive job market.
Plus, at La Trobe we teach you the human skills you need to excel in any career. In the future, jobs that need creative thinking, emotional intelligence and face-to-face interactions will continue to thrive.
And with a degree from La Trobe, so will you.
Make an informed choice
Our one-on-one consultations are designed to hone in on your objectives and provide practical guidance about your study options