Some people might look at this 10-15 year time frame for the full implementation of digital health technologies and ask whether that’s realistic given that innovation is happening so quickly.
For certain technologies, organizations and regions, we’re going to see a movement toward the Age of Scale much faster. But, being realistic about the pace of innovation requires us to have a solid understanding of the key factors that influence technological evolution in health. I’ve developed another graphic to explain why this is the case (below).
My focus here is on organizations because they will have a major impact on whether and how digital technologies are implemented globally. When looking at how organizations integrate digital innovations into their products, services and operations, it is vital to consider:
– Whether they truly understand the innovation and have sufficient support from leadership to use technologies in more than a piecemeal fashion (human)
– If the innovation has the ability to provide financial benefits, such as increased profits or reduced costs (economic)
– The policy/regulatory environment inside or outside the organization, as whether legislation, regulations and procedures exist and are restrictive or permissive can play a role in whether innovations flourish or are stillborn (policy)
– Does the organization have the technical ability and know-how to actually develop and implement certain technology solutions (technological)
Carefully considering (and certainly measuring) the impact of these forces on innovation activities can provide important information about how much technological progress is possible.
You’ve mentioned that there is a “data gap” in digital health innovation. What does this mean?
Many of us in digital health share a focus on helping to accelerate innovation. Yet, this is much harder to do in an environment where we are missing crucial insights and information. For example, it would be interesting to know the characteristics of organizations that are innovating successfully in digital health. Are they better staffed, spending more money, etc.? Because we don’t have this data:
- Companies, non-profits and others have a limited sense of how they compare to peers and how to ensure their innovation activities have maximum impact
- Startups and other innovative firms will take longer to reach their full potential because of a lack of information about how organizations are progressing in digital health, who would make ideal targets for their products and services and much more
Closing this digital health innovation data gap is vital because it will help more organizations make the difficult decisions that will be required during the Age of Implementation and accelerate progress.
Last summer I began planning a major research initiative designed to address the digital health innovation data problem. It’s focused on providing important information about how health organizations globally are integrating digital solutions into their products, services and operations. It will also reveal information about whether the innovation expectations of startups, investors, health tech firms and others are truly aligned with reality.
Why would health organizations, startups and others be interested in participating in a study like this?
I’ve had numerous conversations with people from health organizations, startups and more about this project. Many of them are very interested in taking part, as it will provide important comparative data about how they are doing versus their peers and whether their perceptions are aligned with reality.
But, I’ve also provided a few unique incentives that will be of immediate benefit to health organizations and others participating in this research.
- People from health organizations will automatically receive a personalized 7+ page report after completing the survey that will help them assess their digital health innovation progress, identify strengths and weaknesses and more
- Health organization partners (startups, health tech firms, agencies, etc.) will also receive a 7+ page report (after finishing the survey) that can be used to compare their perceptions of how health industries should be doing in digital health innovation with the reality of their clients’ or partners’ experience and more
Everyone taking part in the study will also receive a copy of a research report — that will be provided free of charge — outlining the results before the general public.
How can people take part in the study?
People can take the digital health innovation survey at: http://digihealth.info/dhinnobenchmarking.
Are you bullish or bearish on digital health’s prospects in 2016?
I’m pretty bullish. I think we’ll continue to see unique innovations, strong collaborations and initiatives that will keep things moving forward. I’m hoping that this research initiative will play a positive role in helping health organizations, startups, tech firms and others better measure, adjust and accelerate innovation activities next year and beyond.