John Nosta professes his love for two words that are changing the world—DIGITAL HEALTH.
Lately, I’ve seen some skepticism, negativity and downright bashing of digital health. And while some practical and real-world perspectives may be necessary, and the typical naysayers will always look at the glass as basically empty, I stand tall and profess my love for two words that are changing the world—DIGITAL HEALTH.
As Elizabeth Barrett Browning would say, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
I love the problems. As JFK reminded us, we don’t do things because they’re easy. We do them because they’re hard. And healthcare is certainly defined by hard—very hard. From the basic science to the red tape of regulations, the task at hand is not for the meek—but for the bold thinkers who imagine solutions with a full understanding of the roadblocks that lie ahead.
I love the emotion. The passion of healthcare—from birth to death—lives in the context of some of the most profound experiences of humanity. You can sell cars or mortgages and have a more conventional occupation—but the blood, sweat and tears of healthcare provoke the pure and rich emotions of life. My little heart rate monitor measures more than the distance between R waves—it measures the emotions in the space between each beat. And that little space is, in part, what defines me.
I love the relevance. Everyone is born. Everyone dies. And everyone gets sick. And at any given point along this path—with the press of a button, or glance at a screen or techno-image—the entire digital health movement can be brought into startling perspective.
I love the urgency. Ever witness asystole, or for that matter, ventricular tachycardia? The urgency for care and the profound need in the world today provides the intellectual adrenaline to drive action and empower those who respond to the call. Yes, those heroes who work tirelessly in a lab or at a bedside—whose rest is deferred for my necessity.
I love the technology. Have you ever seen blood gases drawn in the old days? It’s no fun and I’ll spare you the details. But now, a simple sensor can instantly provide the same critical information with ease and accuracy. And the innovations are just beginning to emerge. With exponential advances in medicine and technology, the ride is intellectually exhilarating and endlessly challenging.
I love the promise. The handshake that digital health offers me and many others is the simple idea of making a difference—which transcends a job or career. It’s the promise of being able to help change or even save a life. Perhaps it’ll be one of the naysayers who think it’s all hype and exaggeration—who one day benefits from the check-engine light that blinks to the cadence of a fluttering heart.
And perhaps most importantly, I love the people. The adventure that I have been on for several years has allowed me to learn much about technology and its application to health and medicine. Sometimes, my head spins with information overload and the stunning complexity of so many new realities. But what stays in my mind and in my heart are the dedicated, brilliant, silly, driven, beautiful, and innovative people that I have had the honor and privilege to meet, and even call friends. It’s these people—beyond the ideas—that define digital health for me. And that’s a love affair beyond compare.