Digital Health is quite the broad term that it is challenging for many healthcare leaders to put their arms around the totality of it all, when trying to decide where to focus their attention (and investments of time, money, and people).
I’d like to remind us that technology primarily exists to serve us, to make our lives easier or safer — or both. When looking at Digital Health it is thus important to understand how that technology is supposed to help us.
Our healthcare system exists to help people to get well and to stay well. To accomplish this, clinicians assess the patient’s condition, decide on how to learn more, and treat the patient by fixing the problem and healing the patient.
At its core, each hospital, health system, or clinic manages three basic sets of activities
- Care Decisions – for diagnosis and treatment plans
- Care Delivery – assessments (exams, consults) and treatment (procedures, therapy)
- Healthcare Logistics – e.g., scheduling, ordering, billing, hiring, etc.
My definition of Digital Health therefore is simple:
Digital Health is the use of
to improve the Efficiency and Efficacy
of Care Decisions, Care Delivery, and
Ancillary Healthcare Processes.
While efficacy is about doing the right things, efficiency is about doing things right. And digital technologies can help us to accomplish both.
In the avalanche of digital health that’s barreling toward us, I see four different distinct areas of innovation that all need to be addressed and managed in parallel:
- Offering a highly personalized, exceptional care experiences (Personalized Care)
- Empowering patients to get well and stay well anywhere, any time (Connected Health)
- Tailoring medical treatment to a patient’s unique characteristics (Individualized Medicine)
- Empowering physicians, patients and administrators to make better decisions (High-Quality Decisions)