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Examining Digital Wellness

By Keren Bowman, Research Manager, GSMA

One of the notable event themes this year at MWC will be Digital Wellness. What exactly does this mean?  Digital Wellness is a relatively new concept that examines our relationship with the online world and its effect on our physical and mental wellbeing. A world where devices and connectivity are almost ubiquitous allows us access to a host of services and information at a level that was previously imaginable. But it also has significant implications for our mental and physical health.

That brings us to Digital Health, a concept that is a convergence of digital technologies with health, care and treatment. This can be empowering and allows individuals to be at the centre of their health, providing greater access and a more personalised approach to healthcare.

Technology holds an immense power to transform and enhance people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Whether that be through AI and analytics increasing medical efficiency, facilitating remote surgery over superfast networks, providing access to information for those in remote and underserved areas, engineering advanced synthetic organs, or transporting patients to virtual worlds for therapy and rehabilitation. Intelligent connectivity lies at the heart of each of these solutions, offering opportunities for mobile operators to develop new services, partnerships and revenues. There is also a huge opportunity to better the lives of millions on our planet and work towards achieving the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, including access to good health.

On the flip side, this technology also faces consumer and regulatory scrutiny. As connected technology becomes ever-more pervasive, how do we balance tech in our daily lives and avoid addiction, negative impacts on mental health, increased social anxiety and a negative sense of self. Countless studies have been carried out into the negative impact of technology on our wellbeing, which begs the question – what is the responsibility of tech companies to ensure consumer wellbeing, and promote a healthy balance and lifestyle? What happens when we lose sight of this balance and ultimately who is to blame?

Whether its pros or cons, we are about to witness a huge transformation in digital wellness innovation. At MWC19, we will be exploring this topic on many levels, some of the sessions include: Striking a Balance in the Age of Digital Distraction, Unlocking the Value of Data in Healthcare, Partnering for Impact: Health-Tech Innovation Showcase, Immersive Healthcare: A Virtual Revolution?, The Future of Digital Humanitarian Response, and Battle of the Health Apps to name a few. For more reading on this topic, please visit here.

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