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Trends, challenges and future of digital care

The cost of healthcare in the Netherlands is skyrocketing. In addition, we are dealing with an ageing society, so healthcare will become more expensive rather than cheaper in the near future. Digital healthcare can be a great advantage in reducing healthcare costs. And not only that. Practice shows, that digital care can make healthcare more efficient and can shorten waiting lists and even make them disappear. What are the trends and challenges of digital care and is digital care really the future?

What is digital care?

Digital care is a very broad concept. You cannot just say that if something is organised digitally, you are talking about digital care. You have to make a clear distinction between the different types of digital care. Roughly speaking, you can make a distinction between telehealth, telemedicine and telecare.


You could say that telehealth has really taken off in recent years. Somewhat forced by the corona pandemic. Telehealth is the branch of digital healthcare, in which the patient/client and the doctor or practitioner are physically in different locations. This therefore includes remote care by means of video chat, telephone calls or remote digital monitoring.


Telemedicine is similar to telehealth, but specifically concerns all clinical care services at a distance. And not only care, but also advice, education, intervention, monitoring and reminders in the field of clinical care are included in telemedicine. Telemedicine does not have to specifically involve clinical care, as is the case with telemedicine.


While many people are still unfamiliar with general telecare, telecare may seem familiar to many patients/clients. This mainly concerns digital solutions that allow patients to monitor their own health. Think of handy wearables to keep track of your physical fitness and apps on your smartphone to keep track of your health achievements.

What are the current trends in digital healthcare?

Various trends can be observed in digital healthcare. The most important developments are taking place in the field of remote care. This is also where the greatest gains can be made. A physical consultation is always more expensive than when the doctor/professional and the patient/client remain at their location. This is why virtual reality has become so popular in healthcare. Mental healthcare in particular is leading the way when it comes to virtual reality. The next trend is still in development, but this will be the successor to virtual reality: Artificial Intelligence (AI). The cooperation between machine and man will take centre stage. The machine will be able to take over more tasks from the practitioner and monitor patients even better. AI is still in its infancy, but the expectations of AI in healthcare are very high.

What are the challenges in digital healthcare?

The healthcare sector still faces major challenges in many areas, including digital healthcare. However, certain challenges can be met with the help of digital care. Think of the accelerated reduction of waiting lists. A major challenge is the entire transformation of the current healthcare system to digital care. For this, the right players need to be in the field and they need to be knowledgeable. The government also has a task here, to come up with certain legislation. In addition, the costs of new digital developments must also be kept in mind. Research and development costs are always very high. Only when certain inventions are on the market does the price normally drop very quickly. This must also be demonstrated in practice, so that care does not become even more expensive simply as a result of the introduction of digital care.

What does the future of digital healthcare look like?

Provided that the right parties in the healthcare sector engage in digital care, the future for digital care looks very bright. The possibilities are enormous. Digital care is already close to many people's hearts, as they monitor their own health through apps, for example. Real digital care goes a step further, but there are many successful examples of that too. So digital care is here to stay, and it will become a leading trend in healthcare as more new technologies are introduced.

Would you like to talk further about trends, challenges and the future of digital care or other opportunities within the mental health sector?

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