What is Digital Health?
At the intersection of technology and healthcare sits the concept of digital health: the application of advancing technology and digital transformation to the ever-important and constantly changing field of healthcare. From Apple Watch health capabilities to software employed by doctors in hospitals, digital health encompasses a vast range of platforms, devices and systems.
Why Does My Company Need to Prioritize Digital Health?
In a world still recovering from the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health is more important than ever before. The coronavirus demonstrated that healthcare must be adaptable and if necessary, conducted from behind closed doors and over screens. The healthcare providers who maintained helpful services for their users were those who saw the pandemic as an opportunity to advance their digital health capabilities, and implemented forward-thinking changes which are now permanent fixtures in their service offering.
Think about the now commonplace online patient portals, symptom checkers and monitoring tools we take for granted. This kind of digital transformation helped to ease pressure on practitioners during the pandemic, when rising occupancy in hospitals and urgent COVID-19 care had to take precedent over conventional minor maladies. As the world steadies itself, it is paramount that healthcare organizations not drop the ball on technological advancement now, but continue to develop and integrate new tools and capabilities into their digital platforms.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Ahead of the Game?
Brandon Maenius, Senior Director of Product at WebTPA, spent the pandemic deating and developing this much needed advancement on whiteboards in his home. Speaking on the Liftoff podcast, he discussed the things that digital business successes always keep at the forefront of their minds.
Maenius believes that successful companies in any sector have several key characteristics in common, the first being that they obsess over their customer. The notion of customer-centric development and human-centered design is not new, but only growing in importance as consumers are constantly presented with more and more options when it comes to digital experiences. Only by creating truly customized and thought-out online experiences will businesses retain the loyalty of customers spoiled for choice.
The second skill required of an innovator in digital spaces, according to Maenius, is to constantly question and reimagine current concepts. A business must ask what an existing application, capability or feature is really offering their end-customer, and why it has been created the way it is, before adjusting and developing the concept to push it forward. Of course, this kind of advancement goes hand in hand with leveraging cutting-edge technology, which Maenius sees as the third step to success for today’s business.
In healthcare, Maenius believes that speed is key to growth in a post-Covid landscape. Gone are the days of rolling out project plans in 18 months or more: customers expect continuous progression and positive changes to digital experiences, and those who fail to keep up will be left in the dust of the innovators who beat them to market. Maenius is quick to specify that expecting perfection from quickly formed products is unrealistic, but that instead companies should focus on iterating and testing the products after launch, updating and adapting to fit consumer needs.
The slow winding down of the pandemic is not an opportunity for healthcare providers to sit back in their chairs when it comes to digital advancement. Digital health requires constant and sustained investment in order to keep pace with a world facing ever-changing healthcare threats and consumer needs. A forward-thinking healthcare organization will understand the value of high-quality digital transformation, and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital health.