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Why Digital Health Platforms are vital for data-driven life sciences and healthcare organizations

Updated: May 18, 2022

Pharmaceutical, medical device and healthtech companies, as well as organizations in the healthcare sector (such as hospitals and clinics), are creating and collecting more and more data.

But there’s a problem: figuring out how to use that data to actually improve patients’ health.

For example, in 2018, hospitals worldwide performed 3.6 billion imaging procedures and produced an average 50 petabytes of data each (90% of which was imaging data). But 97% of it went unused or unanalyzed. There’s no doubt that there would be huge value in finding out what insights might be hidden in this data. For example, AI technologies would be very well suited to helping radiologists identify patterns in imaging.

Knowledge is power. But data, in itself, is just numbers on a page. You also need a way to get value from it. And right now, most healthcare data is stuck in silos and legacy systems, with all of its potential value locked away.

That’s where digital health platforms come in. Some enable you to store, manage and use all the data you hold, or can access. That provides a strong foundation for the development of medical-grade applications (like medical apps and ‘digiceuticals’) as well as the formation of new ecosystems with healthcare institutions and the myriad of innovative startups.

Before we go on, a quick word of clarification is needed. The word ‘platform’ is currently used by companies in a variety of different contexts, and there are many types of digital platforms in the health space. Below are the main categories of platforms we have identified:

Research platforms to aggregate specific types of health data for R&D purposes (Flatiron, DNAnexus, IBM Watson Health…)

Telehealth platforms to connect healthcare service providers with patients and provide virtual care services (Amwell, Grandrounds, Teladoc…)

Software development platforms used to develop software-as-medical-device (SaMD) solutions (Voluntis Theraxium, Smartpatient, S3 Connected Health Affinial…)

Clinical Data Management platforms used to manage clinical trials (Oracle ClinicalOne, Medidata, IQVIA…)

CRM systems for customer relations management (SalesForce…)

Horizontal regulated technology platforms to manage health data from any source and build applications, available as a Platform as a Service or PaaS (Siemens Healthineers, Phillips HealthSuite, Brightinsight…).

In this post, we focus on the last of these, which have been specifically engineered and certified for the health industry in order to allow IT teams to develop any type of medical application while fully complying with all laws and regulations of the healthcare sector. We will refer to these platforms as ‘DHPs’.

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