Dossia’s Executive Director David Goldsmith reminds the digital health community that health is fundamentally about humans, not technology.
In May, Enspektos, an innovation consultancy, will be holding a unique all-Web digital health conference, digihealth pulse Virtual 2014 (DHPV 2014). During the event, more than 25 innovators, entrepreneurs, futurists and others will share their wisdom about digital health’s present and future.
David Goldsmith is executive director of Dossia, which seeks to nurture the development of disruptive, accessible technologies that combine tools for engagement and empowerment with a framework for nudging people to do what is best for their health and healthcare. Dossia’s customers include large self-insured employers such as Walmart, Applied Materials, and Intel, as well as hospitals, wellness companies and third-party administrators.
Prior to DHPV 2014, a number of speakers agreed to answer the following question: What’s the one piece of digital health advice people can’t afford to ignore? The following is Goldsmith’s take on this question.
“The core of my advice is this: Regardless of the technologies and innovations we develop, healthcare is fundamentally a human enterprise.
With all of the excitement surrounding digital health – from the latest IPOs, investment activity and digital technologies coming out of stealth mode – it’s sometimes easy to forget that there’s no substitute for humans. People rely on other people and it’s the relationships between patients, clinicians, nurse practitioners, health coaches and others that will make or break the tools and technologies we’re developing to improve health and well-being.
This is a lesson we relearn each day at Dossia. We’re actively working separately, and together with our partners, to develop technologies that gain much of their power because they are linked to people’s personal health records. Yet, handing someone a digital health tool and asking them to use it is not enough. A vital part of the success equation is engagement.
How do we at Dossia get people to engage with our technologies? We are hyper-focused on understanding them at the human, individual, level: what are their aspirations, fears, wishes, talents, activities and more? We use this personalized information to “nudge” them to do what’s best for themselves and their families when it comes to their health.
As an observer and participant in the digital health ecosystem, I’ve seen too many companies, innovators, entrepreneurs, physicians and others led astray because they fall victim to shiny object syndrome. They believe technology by itself will solve healthcare’s ills. I often ask myself whether we are focusing enough on gaining patients’ and physicians’ trust. Are we exercising patience as consumers figure out the best ways to use the technologies we develop? Are we empathetic to people’s needs as they move through the health journey from diagnosis, to treatment and beyond?
I believe that digital health is hugely promising and exciting. But, maximizing digital health’s ability to improve outcomes will require recognizing that people will always be more important than products. Those who remember this lesson are more likely to be successful in the short- and long-term.“
We’d also love to hear from you. Share your thoughts on the one piece of digital health advice people can’t afford to ignore by commenting on this post. Then, tweet the following between April 24 and 30: “Here’s my take on the one piece of digital health advice people can’t afford to ignore [insert link to this post] #DHPV2014.” Enspektos will randomly select two people who comment and tweet their response to receive free tickets to DHPV 2014 after the contest ends on April 30. Please be sure to use the hashtag #DHPV2014 so that Enspektos can track your responses.
Disclosure: HIT Consultant is a featured media partner of digihealth pulse Virtual 2014