Connected healthcare: Improving patient care using digital health technologies

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2021 Nov;178:113958. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2021.113958. Epub 2021 Sep 1.


Now more than ever, traditional healthcare models are being overhauled with digital technologies of Healthcare 4.0 increasingly adopted. Worldwide, digital devices are improving every stage of the patient care pathway. For one, sensors are being used to monitor patient metrics 24/7, permitting swift diagnosis and interventions. At the treatment stage, 3D printers are under investigation for the concept of personalised medicine by allowing patients access to on-demand, customisable therapeutics. Robots are also being explored for treatment, by empowering precision surgery, rehabilitation, or targeted drug delivery. Within medical logistics, drones are being leveraged to deliver critical treatments to remote areas, collect samples, and even provide emergency aid. To enable seamless integration within healthcare, the Internet of Things technology is being exploited to form closed-loop systems that remotely communicate with one another. This review outlines the most promising healthcare technologies and devices, their strengths, drawbacks, and opportunities for clinical adoption.

Keywords: Additive manufacturing and 3D printing; Artificial intelligence and machine learning; Digital pharmaceuticals and therapeutics; Fourth industrial revolution; Medical cyber-physical systems and robotics; Patient-centred smart health and medical care; Personalized medicines and drug delivery; Pharma industry 4.0; Wearable computing and electronics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology*
  • Digital Technology*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care*