Editorial| Volume 1, ISSUE 1, P52-53, March 2023

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Digital Health in the 21st Century: The Best is Yet to Come

Open AccessPublished:March 10, 2023DOI:
      Digital health has potential to transform the way we practice medicine at a rapid pace, just like technology has transformed other industries. We must expect that in the next 5-10 years we will be practicing medicine in an entirely different way, in most part thanks to digital health tools and advances in computer science, machine learning, automatization, robotics, virtual reality, wearables technology and related fields. This digital health transformation should cover every aspect of medicine and the patient's journey, as well as medical education and research. Artificial intelligence algorithms helping clinicians to diagnose and manage a variety of medical conditions, major changes to the functionality of the electronic health record, improvements in workflows primarily assisted by smart systems increasing efficiencies, and reducing repetitive tasks humans do right now that could be performed by computers and digital applications. Digital health will help empower patients to monitor their medical conditions better, assess their response to medications and better know when and where to seek medical help versus exercising self-care.
      The digital transformation also has the potential to reduce inequities in healthcare by democratizing the use of algorithms across the globe, and expanding virtual care to countries, regions, and neighborhoods that are currently marginalized from mainstream medicine. Digital health also offers the potential to reduce medical errors through smart integrated and targeted clinical decision support systems, creating error-proof medical tasks that support the workflow of health care providers, in a way we have never seen before. Health care will become like other industries that have made significant advances in automatization and near error-proof systems, like aeronautics and manufacturing.
      This revolutionary transformation could be a decisive moment in the history of medicine, but it also comes with some risks: the risk of dehumanizing medicine, the risk of amplifying existing biases and health care inequities or by creating new ones, the risk of making medical errors multiplicative and many other potential disastrous scenarios. This is why this transformation led by digital health needs to be evidence-based, yet pragmatic, maintain the humanistic qualities of medicine, and promote equity. Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Digital Health comes at a perfect time to give clinicians and scientists another venue to publish their research results and experiences, commentaries, perspectives and controversies, and reviews.
      Why another digital health journal? This is a legitimate question some may ask. When the decision was made to create this journal, it was done considering the risks and benefits of adding a new digital health journal. First, this field is one of the fastest-growing segments in medical research, seeing exponential growth in publications in related disciplines. We heard from editors of medical journals that the astonishing number of new submissions in artificial intelligence, wearables and virtual health, was causing difficulties in processing papers, as it was difficult to find expert reviewers to manage peer review. With the large number of excellent manuscripts submitted during the first 3 months since we opened our submission and peer review system, Editorial Manager, we were proven right about the need for a new publishing venue.
      Part of the concept for this journal was to provide some unique opportunities for scientists and clinicians working in the field of digital health. Recognizing that real-life experiences are vital to identify the utility, or lack thereof, of digital health solutions, we are offering the option of publishing narratives describing successful or unsuccessful experiences when developing and implementing digital health solutions. And to reiterate, we can learn from both experiences: of success and of failure. For studies in virtual reality or augmented reality, we also offer the opportunity to publish articles in a video format, so people around the world can not only read about those advances but actually experience them in an immersive experience, through videos. Recognizing the importance of monitoring, mitigating or preventing bias and inequities when implementing digital health solutions, we will publish reviews, opinion articles, debates and other formats covering this important topic in our journal. Our mission is to provide a platform for investigators, clinicians, and investigators to share in the disruptive transformation of medical practice through digital health advances.
      This journal will follow the long-standing tradition and experience of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which has been publishing high quality articles since 1926, and joins the family of Mayo Clinic Proceedings journals. We will continue working on impactful publications with the ultimate goal to advance the science and art of medicine, helping people around the world to live longer and better through the discovery, implementation and validation of digital technologies. We will be doing this with the help of a diverse body of Editorial Board members, members of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings advisory board, scientific reviewers from all over the world, scientists and clinicians working in digital health and, of course, through the voluntary participation of study subjects around the planet.
      We hope you enjoy this journal and find its content not only interesting but useful, and also that you will join our effort to advance the science of digital health by submitting original articles, opinion papers and other potential publications.

      Potential Competing Interests

      Dr. FLJ is a scientific advisor to Anumana and in conjunction with Mayo Clinic have filed patents related to the application of AI to the ECG for diagnosis and risk stratification. He is also an advisor to Wizecare and Kento, both digital health companies for cardiology care, through Know-How agreements. He and Mayo Clinic may receive future financial benefit coming from those arrangements.


      It is my true privilege to warmly acknowledge the outstanding contributions and dedication of Ms Carin Minelli, Ms Kim Sankey, Ms Peg Wentz, and Ms Terry Jopke, the members of the Editorial Staff of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.