Evolution of the digital health spectrum of care

5 min read

A post written by Jessica Shull (Digital Therapeutics Alliance), Dr. Keith Grimes (Babylon Health), and Alexandra Yembele (Withings). Last edit: October, 8th

Health systems are evolving beyond the doctor’s office

Countries aim to improve current standards of care for their populations while developing novel ways to treat patients with acute health conditions. This evolution has only quickened in the midst of a continuously shifting pandemic, and the result of this adaptation is the adoption of digital health technologies (DHT). Although DHT has been developing for the last 20 years, the physical dangers of being together during a pandemic has sped up the need for doctors to be able to collect actionable insights and extend care beyond the office setting. The advances in DHT could offer integrated care for whole populations in countries across the globe while providing tools so that potentially, no one is left behind.

New solutions for new challenges

There are several examples that show how healthcare systems are adopting innovative pathways for DHTs. Three examples include:

  • Regulatory authorities in Germany have now approved digital therapies and diagnostics which may be prescribed nationally to 78 million people;
  • As part of insurance benefits in some countries, employers are utilizing connected devices like sleep trackers and heart rate monitors to encourage employees to improve health indicators;
  • In 2019, few physicians in Germany utilized telemedicine platforms (virtual visits with patients via phone or online), but this year there was a 200% increase in some parts of the country due to the pandemic.

These examples highlight countries’ need to find new ways to interact with patients and provide care within existing healthcare systems.

The best-case scenario is when these three resources — digital therapeutics, remote patient monitoring, and telemedicine platforms — work together. This trio of digital health technologies can be used to assist a wide variety of patients including those who have for example, hypertension, diabetes, implant receivers, and or COPD.

The ideal DHT Combination

The European Respiratory Society estimates 15–20% of adults over 40 in Europe suffer from this Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). A typical patient, who we’ll call Maria, might visit a doctor every six months for routine COPD checkups, but collecting data biannually may not provide the information needed to see important health trends and anticipate potential complications. Rather than relying on these infrequent visits, COPD patients could access the benefits of DHT via digital care products to manage the disease.

Firstly, this type of patient needs access to personal medical devices that can actively monitor health at home or on the go. The Withings ScanWatch is an example of a connected device that can monitor this patient’s oxygen saturation and daily walking distance multiple times a day rather than the typical protocol, which is to wait six months to measure indicators in hospital. The next step towards DHT solutions entails the bridge between patients’ data and medical providers. The backend integration of Withings’ open API allows Babylon, a telemedicine platform, to automatically and safely receive data that patients have authorized to be sent. Medical providers would then have on-demand access to the data and can adjust this patient’s medications accordingly while also monitoring the long-term effectiveness of treatment.

In addition to the medical device and telemedicine bridge between patient and provider, using a companion digital therapeutics (DTx) for COPD could help improve patient outcomes. The DTx is clinically-validated, works with medications, tracks triggers that reduce oxygen levels, and helps adjust key behaviors to optimize overall condition. Due to the insights provided via the DTx, COPD patients can avoid taking walks on days with high levels of air pollution, lower the use of rescue inhalers, understand how to best exercise, and experience reduced dyspnoea episodes.

The combination of device, telemedicine, and DTx is a suite of technologies composing DHT that can help patients and providers co-create care plans that help identify goals and well-defined actions to improve health and change key behaviors. While patients can still check in every 6 months with providers, data is being delivered more frequently which could reduce hospital visits and deliver better health indicators.

However, dumping large amounts of patient vitals every day is not the answer, which is why providers can enable a series of alerts that initiate a clinician review based on patient triggers revolving around personal conditions and health history. In this case, doctors only see the information that is needed, not daily dumps of data.

Who are the DHT minds behind this article?

Babylon Health

Babylon Health is a globally leading technology company with the ambitious mission to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on Earth. We combine technology and medical expertise to bring doctors and people closer together, with digital health tools designed to empower people with knowledge about their health. Through a range of digital health services — such as an AI-backed app and video doctor appointments — we provide around-the-clock access to affordable, holistic healthcare services and information. We work with governments, health providers and insurers across the globe, and healthcare facilities from small local practices to large hospitals. With a $2Bn valuation, Babylon covers 20 million people across the globe, and has delivered more than 8m virtual consultations and AI interactions. We have teamed up with 170 impactful worldwide partners — including Mount Sinai Health Partners, the NHS, Telus Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of Rwanda — to fulfil our vision of accessible and affordable healthcare, for all. For more information, visit


Withings produces medical grade devices for at-home monitoring so that patients can understand with precision their symptoms and trends in indicators. Withings’ mission is to continuously and effortlessly provide healthcare professionals with medical-grade data generated by patients from an ecosystem of connected devices. For more than a decade, Withings has built a range of award-winning products including activity trackers, connected scales, a wireless blood pressure monitor, a smart temporal thermometer, and an advanced sleep system. From remote patient monitoring to clinical research to chronic disease management, Withings has dedicated solutions that provide the richest array of accurate real-world data thanks to a complete ecosystem of connected devices, data connectivity options, and a remote patient monitoring platform. Visit our website here.

Digital Therapeutics Alliance

Founded in 2017, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is a non-profit trade association of industry leaders and stakeholders engaged in the evidence-driven advancement of digital therapeutics. DTA maintains an international industry focus and is headquartered in the United States. DTA exists to broaden the understanding, adoption, and integration of clinically evaluated digital therapeutics into healthcare through education, advocacy, and research. In Europe, digital therapeutics offer regulated, CE marked digital therapies to patients with a diagnosed condition or disease. Most DTx products in Europe require third-party authorization or a prescription from a qualified clinician. Digital therapeutics undergo clinical trials, collect real world outcomes, and are based on patient-centered core principles and product development best practices, including product design, usability, data security, and privacy standards.

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