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5 Stories that Highlight the Power and Problems of Digital Health


What you need to know about Bose’s connected hearing aids, mHealth apps and health tech’s power to help patients and physicians.

digital health challenge,mhealth challenge,mhealth development,hca news

Digital health programs can be difficult to launch, but the benefits can be great.

As digital health takes on a more prominent role in healthcare, more stakeholders across the industry are launching such initiatives and developing mobile health (mHealth) apps of their own. But building an mHealth solution or acquiring new tech does not guarantee adoption or improved patient outcomes.

Still, the potential benefits of digital health, mHealth and big data are clear. Better outcomes, fewer inefficiencies and happier patients and clinicians may well be worth the risk of investing time and money into a digital health program that fails.

>> READ: Creating Intelligent Computing: A Conversation with Rosalind Picard

Luckily, examples of past digital health successes and failures abound. Before launching a digital health initiative, health systems and other stakeholders can learn from these stories and experts with real-world experience. High-tech efforts from other industries also offer lessons for digital health undertakings. And Healthcare Analytics News™ covered a little bit of all of that last week.

Every week, we round up our most popular articles, videos and podcasts and present them in an easy-to-consume rundown. Here are our top five stories from the past week, each one jammed with insights into digital health, mHealth and how health systems can make tech benefit their patients and physicians.

1) Bose, an FDA Approval and the Changing High-Tech Hearing Aid Market

Bose, the high-end speaker company, is entering the hearing aid game. But it’s not making just any old device; these high-tech hearing aids sync with an app that enables patients to adjust their levels without the assistance of a clinician. It’s a med-tech and mHealth solution that fosters patient empowerment and could improve the patient experience and patient engagement.

2) Why the Future of Digital Health Must Be Simple

Most health and fitness apps gain very little traction in the app stores. Half never even break more than 500 downloads, and just 41 apps have more than 10 million downloads on Google Play. The drop-off rate is also painfully high. So, with all of this bad news, what can healthcare organizations do to improve adoption and retention rates? Hint: Meet patients where they are.

3) There’s a Prescription App for That? Digital Therapeutics on the Rise

So far, digital therapeutics appear most effective in treating conditions whose first-line intervention is behavior change. That represents a big market with many patients, and high-tech therapeutic companies are well on their way toward developing and marketing apps to meet what they believe is a real demand. But will physicians prescribe digital therapeutics? And will payers cover prescription apps?

4) Health Tech Must Focus on Subtracting Steps from Physician Workflow

Our own Tom Castles wrote this blistering column to address a problem that just won’t fade: physician burnout. New tech too often adds steps to the physician’s workday. (Just look at the electronic health record.) But only by introducing workflow-savvy tech that minimizes physician burden can health systems help their patients and their providers. And make no mistake: Physician burnout causes measurable harm to patients.

5) Podcast: How Analytics Changed Casinos & Could Change Healthcare

Why is healthcare so bad at improving the patient experience? Perhaps healthcare decision makers need only to look to Las Vegas for ideas on how to successfully tackle this challenge. On this episode of Data Book, we tell the story of a prosperous casino loyalty program and talk to Sunny Tara, a gaming industry veteran and health-tech entrepreneur, to gain these kinds of insights. Solutions to the patient experience problem may be simpler than you think.

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