Smart Digital Health Strategy Starts with These Technologies

Megan Williams

Are you interested in improving your healthcare organization’s digital health strategy? Now that digital health is descending from the peak of the hype cycle, it’s time for things to get real.

With all the challenges around personnel, setting budgets and planning, healthcare leaders have to answer some very practical questions about the tech solutions that will power their approach to digital health. Your answers are going to be highly individualized depending on organizational needs and goals, but any plan should start with a general awareness of the technology that will enable the future of digital health.

Consumer Data Platforms

Healthcare has traditionally dealt with clinical data, but with consumerism taking hold and patients picking up the reigns of their education, care and decision-making, an entirely new layer of digital information has emerged.

The patient has evolved into the patient-consumer, and marketing technology, such as the consumer data platform (CDP), will become a vital tool in understanding patients and their healthcare needs.

The CDP effectively aggregates the behavior of the patient-consumer, creating a 360-degree view of their experience. This means that data including website navigation, call center interaction, connected device data, social media, email, mobile apps and even electronic health records (EHRs) can all be leveraged as part of an informed and consumer-centric digital health strategy.

Data Management

Any approach to digital health should prioritize patients, and that means corralling patient data.

Among wearables, consumer diagnostics, online interactions, genomics, bedside monitors and other digital solutions, healthcare consumers are generating an astonishing amount of data. According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), one million data points an hour per patient are generated by bedside monitors alone.

All that data is going to mean new and diverse challenges in data management practices and an even greater need for tools that can handle the job.

Data as a Service (DaaS) solutions will be especially impactful in healthcare where data from disparate sources will need to be rapidly integrated. Information governance tools will be more important than ever as the rate of healthcare data production expands. Solutions like AI, machine learning and deep learning can help uncover patterns within mountains of data, while multi-model data management technologies will allow organizations to view data from a variety of perspectives — enabling the level of sophisticated, strategic decision-making that will be necessary as healthcare evolves.

Content Management Systems

Any digital health strategy will rely heavily on digital communication. It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to manage the massive amount of content required without a content management system (CMS) that fits your goals.

You’ll be managing website content, video, informational documents, and even internal communication and content. Enterprise CMS solutions allow you to create and manage complexity while granting the flexibility to keep up with the demands the digital environment requires.

Healthcare Security Technology

Medical records are claimed to be worth hundreds and possibly even thousands of dollars each to hackers, according to Forbes. At the same time, TechCrunch reports that the healthcare industry is lagging in efforts to beef up cybersecurity and keep those records safe. As disconcerting as this might be, multiple new (or new-to-healthcare) technologies are positioned to support digital strategies that don’t compromise on security.

Through a number of features (including multi-vector threat detection and response, and secure monitoring at the application level), next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) facilitate the storage of larger amounts of data, but also allow more flexibility and improved responsiveness to unexpected threats.

Blockchain technology is the new buzz in healthcare security circles and for a good reason. It opens the door to the creation of an authoritative ledger for each healthcare event. The rise of digital health opens up new vulnerabilities, meaning multiple checks and balances are required to maintain the integrity and security of private health records.

With the rise of mHealth and digital health devices, secure direct messaging might be one of the most important tech solutions in the digital health discussion. More patients, clinicians and third-party entities are communicating via mobile devices, and they’re constantly dealing in sensitive information. This leaves healthcare organizations and business associates responsible for providing messaging and health information exchange (HIE) that’s compliant with HIPAA as well as other state and regional regulations.

Investigating these technologies and how they can be leveraged within your digital health strategy is the first step to gaining executive buy-in and building productive, successful digital health initiatives.

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