We use mobile devices in many aspects of our lives. With the recent rise of wearable devices and health apps, we can now expect to manage our health in the digital world, as well. In fact, a 2015 survey from Salesforce found that 71 percent of millennial patients surveyed want to engage with their healthcare providers via a mobile app.

Health-tech startups are filling that desire. But health-tech startups are doing more than creating fitness apps -- they’re changing healthcare and improving lives in many fundamental ways.

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Here are just a few ways health-tech startups are improving patient care and driving the medical industry forward:

1. Expanding access to healthcare knowledge

Access to health and medical information has become practically ubiquitous. Anyone with an Internet connection can find detailed information about symptoms, diseases and general health on specific apps and websites. In addition, startups and websites are dedicated to breaking down complex healthcare issues and making preventive, diagnostic and treatment knowledge easily available.

2. Building communities

The Internet is social. From forums and comments and social media platforms, we create and participate in communities online. Health-tech startups are building and facilitating community groups and networks for specific patient populations.

Individuals struggling with different diseases can find support, seek advice, access resources and share their stories with other patients facing the same issues. Family members and caretakers can also find help and support within communities facilitated by health-tech startups.

Communities also allow patients to make informed choices about their care. In fact, the Salesforce survey found 74 percent of patients surveyed said they look at reviews for doctors online.

3. Increasing accountability

Health-tech startups hold both patients and providers more accountable. Health-tech solutions enable health data and every stage of care to be documented.

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Apps and mobile health innovations allow patients to track their medications and receive appointment, prescription refill and dosage reminders on multiple devices. Among health centers who engage patients through their cell phones surveyed by the Commonwealth Fund in 2015, 66 percent send patients reminders about appointments and screenings.

Patients aren’t the only ones who are kept accountable for their health. From general practitioners to nurses to pharmacists, health tech helps keep everyone in the chain of care accountable, reducing mistakes, improving care and saving lives.

4. Advancing research

Bio-medical startups are at the forefront of cutting edge research for cancer and other diseases. Health-tech startups are removed from the traditional big pharma industry, and have the freedom to innovate and take research in new directions.

These startups are receiving funding and training from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. In a new version of the NSF Innovation-Corps program focused on biomedical technologies, entrepreneurs receive mentorship to help move their ideas and research from the lab to the commercial market. Their discoveries and new products are changing and advancing treatments.

5. Driving personalization

We live in an age of personalization, and thanks to health-tech startups, healthcare is becoming more and more personalized as well. Providers, hospitals and health systems can personalize and track treatment plans to better fit the needs of individual patients. Patients can personalize their personal exercise regimens, diets and health goals to fit their lifestyles.

Personalized care plans help ensure that each patient receives the best treatment possible. Health-tech solutions make personalized treatment plans possible, improving patient care on an individual level.

What do you think? How are health-tech startups driving innovation and improvement in healthcare? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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