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Measuring success in digital health

Telemedicine center.

Travis Good, M.D., writing in Healthcare Dive, presents what he  sees as the best ways to achieve and measure success in digital health.

He writes:

“Everybody is grappling with this challenge of judging the effectiveness of digital health, and I’ve not seen anyone do a good job of figuring out the answer. With dwindling margins and an imperative around evidence, it’s a critical question for any hospital, whether you are launching a new large-scale initiative or just plugging in an application. The problem is that people in health care, like in most large organizations, tend to work in silos with different and sometimes even competing interests.

“To address this question, we need to take a hard look at who is engaged in making the recommendations and ultimately the decisions regarding digital health technologies.

“From my experience, these are the people who need to be at the table to develop the success criteria for digital health.

  • “The chief medical information officer (CMIO), a rather new position within health systems, is usually an MD speaking on behalf of physicians.
  • “The chief information officer (CIO), responsible for how the digital health infrastructure fits within the broader IT organization.
  • “The IT team, to connect the product to the current system.
  • “Onsite representatives of the EHR supplier.
  • “An internal champion, possibly an early-adopter physician who wants to pioneer the digital health product.
  • “The director of innovation, and people from teams like marketing, security and compliance, legal and procurement.
  • “And possibly an external consultant to help with strategy.

“The easiest way for this diverse group to measure digital health success relates to costs or revenues. For example, if you plugged in a telemedicine solution, people start paying $25 or $50 to see a nurse practitioner over video chat instead of going to a pharmacy or coming into the office or emergency department. The outcomes may be a new source of revenue or it might be a cost savings from directing patients to appropriate, and less expensive, care settings.”

To read Dr. Good’s entire essay, please hit this link.

A bad year for digital health?



Here’s a discussion on whether it’s reasonable to be pessimistic about digital-health and related products.

One discussant, venture capitalist Lisa Suennen, told MedCity News that there’s been “a lot of optimism about the convergence of biotech, life sciences and health IT, but also there was a sense of foreboding that the party is over in some of these areas.

MedCity’s Stephanie Baum, for her part, predicted:

“It’s definitely going to be a quiet year for IPOs in digital health. I think people are going to be buckling down and getting ready for 2017. In 2015 we had Teladoc and Fitbit, but this year, there may be one or two, but it’s definitely going to be quiet on that front.”

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