Digital health is a very young sector of the healthcare industry. There’s still a lot to do in terms of adoption and understanding its impact.
However, certain approaches in digital health have shown the difference between making a real difference to the industry and developing something “cool” that ultimately fails because it doesn’t solve a problem or it doesn’t fit in the market.
Orthogonal has outlined four important factors for moving digital health solutions forward, which we elaborate on below. .
1. Think Inclusive, Not Exclusive
The physical world is limited by our understanding of science and engineering. On the other hand, the digital world allows for more expressive and innovative thinking.
Switching from an exclusively physical solution to a physical-digital solution requires altering our way of thinking. In other words, it means that we must open our eyes to new dimensions.
Digital health solutions enable us to do both A and B, rather than having to compromise between A and B. There are two domains, in particular, where this will apply for CMMD and SaMD: the solution over the product and the physical location.
The Solution Over The Product
The money in healthcare is migrating from a fee-for-service model (where the price of healthcare is determined by what the provider can offer) to a value-based model (where the price of healthcare is determined by the outcomes).
In essence, this means that we are paying healthcare professionals to solve our health problems rather than paying them to provide a product.
The Physical Location
Digital health is enabling healthcare providers to form teams across the country. They can work at different times of the day on various tasks but still provide value to the consumer.
As such, healthcare is shifting from being solely reliant on a physical location like a hospital or their doctor’s office.
2. Realize More Is Not Better
Behavioral science shows that more does not always mean better. This is because our brains are not hardwired to make the best possible decision when there is a seemingly endless number of possibilities.
This is easy to see in action.
For example, the next time you’re with your child, take them to the candy store and handy them a $20 bill. Once they’ve calmed down from that initial rush, you’ll probably see them stall as they realize $20 won’t even scratch the surface for what they could buy.
The same goes for digital health solutions. Because CMMD and SaMD creates many opportunities for growth and innovation, those that end up on top are the firms that can quickly define their goals and success criteria before knuckling down and focusing on the best couple of candidates.
From here, winning firms surgically navigate their way through the field to launch a successful digital health solution and continue to update it to increase its value.
3. Engagement Is Key
No digital health solution will be a success without sufficient engagement. At most, you may be able to get them to perform the required actions with a certain tool.
Electronic health record (EHR) records are a great example. In theory, they should allow doctors and healthcare professionals to work more efficiently.
But ask yourself this question: how many times have you been to see your doctor and they’ve struggled to use their EHR system to do their job?
Now, with this in mind, how many times have you seen your doctor use their EHR system just as easily as how a journalist writes with a pen or how a builder lays a brick?
Final question: have you ever heard your doctor give the EHR system so much praise that they cannot go without it, or that they can’t believe there was a time when they couldn’t use it?
When it comes to digital health innovation, whether it’s to bring down costs or improve outcomes, everyone involved must be on the same page and motivated for it to succeed.
It comes down to giving patients and professionals the opportunity to experience different approaches by understanding their respective worlds, solving each other’s problems and giving them meaningful benefits.
Such solutions will be adopted by employees on the ground, drive value for executives and shareholders, and allow the business to become a success.
Good engagement only comes from putting the effort into getting the solution right for all parties. Understand what both the patients and the providers are looking for and solve problems related to barriers to entry.
4. Use Real World Data And Real World Evidence
Today’s connected world means data is cheaper, it’s easier to get your hands on, store, and analyze a lot of it effectively in real-time. The sheer abundance of available data has created an opportunity, not to replace, but to augment current data sources of clinical trials and R&D.
Traditional sources of data provide a lot of value to researchers as their quality ensures confidence in MedTech products. That said, conventional data sets are very slow and are costly to collect. As a result, data collection is designed with a keen eye on the scope and frequency in order to balance between budgeting and scheduling.
Here is a list of potential uses of real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWD) which can completely transform the MedTech product landscape.
Here are some suggestions:
- Initial needs identification
- Initial product R&D
- Clinical trials that provide high-quality statistical data that helps accurately measure safety, clinical effectiveness comparative effectiveness for those that regulate, prescribe, use and pay for these tools
- Post-launch automated support for devices to promote optimal outcomes (i.e., maximizing customer success)
- Post-launch communication and collaboration between patients and providers, often by sophisticated algorithms and databases
- Continuous surveillance to identify product issues that were not identified in clinical trials but are detectable needles that algorithms can locate in the haystack of RWD
- Researching, developing, testing, and deploying frequent enhancements that continually increase the value of the products.”