How can we stop digital technologies from worsening existing health inequalities?

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Digital technologies provide undeniable advantages in the field of neurological disorders, offering data collection and remote monitoring capabilities. However, achieving an equitable future for digital technology in neurology requires global collaboration and multidisciplinary planning.

Prompt and effective preparation and implementation are crucial for success. Over the past decade, the market has witnessed an influx of health-related digital products, ranging from artificial intelligence and machine learning systems to smartphone apps, smartwatches, body sensors, and digitally equipped smart homes. While many serve recreational purposes, some have gained regulatory approval as medical devices for diagnosing and managing specific diseases. In neurology, wearable devices and remote monitoring have shown promise in addressing various conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, migraine, stroke, pain, andepilepsy.

By enabling the objective collection of clinical signs, biomarkers, and behaviors in natural environments, digital technologies offer a feasible and precise approach. Remote assessments conducted at any time provide continuous monitoring, enhancing the detection of changes and evaluating intervention efficacy. Digital phenotyping not only facilitates personalized approaches but also generates comprehensive datasets that can identify phenotypic patterns, potentially enabling early diagnosis and prevention of diseases. However, challenges remain, such as ensuring the reliability of digital outcome measures, addressing privacy concerns, and improving practicality, usability, and cost-effectiveness. To overcome these challenges, collaboration among stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, and organizations, is essential.

Health policies should focus on affordability and accessibility, and education should play a crucial role in minimizing inequities and promoting effective use of digital technology in clinical practice. Integrated strategies and standardized data collection methods will help drive the widespread adoption of digital tools and contribute to data-driven policies. Embracing digital technology as an opportunity rather than a threat can revolutionize neurological care and support global prevention efforts, ultimately benefiting individuals with neurological disorders and the entire community.

Source Nature

Neurologica
Author: Neurologica

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