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Consumers Are Facing Challenges Choosing Digital Health Tools


There is no encyclopedia that contains the metrics of what makes a digital health program usable or not.

Health systems aren’t the only organizations facing challenges in choosing which digital health innovations to implement. With all of the health technology available, consumers also have important decisions to make.

But it’s helpful for physicians and their employers to understand the factors that could and should guide consumer decision-making in digital health. It’s likely that some patients will ask their physicians for help — and that could continue as consumer-facing health tech continues its ascent.

Suzanne Clough, M.D., chief innovation officer of ArmadaHealth, told Inside Digital Health™ at the 2019 World Health Care Congress meeting in Washington, D.C., that the decision-making process depends on what the consumer is looking for in a digital health program.

Clough, whose previous company developed an application that went through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process, said the regulator’s OK could be one way for a program to stand out.

But consumers should also focus on what the technology actually does.

“Is it enabling you to capture data and information that’s truly meaningful to have a discussion with your physician?” she said.

She added that consumers should look for technologies that allow data to be collected and shared with their healthcare team to facilitate better treatment options and decisions.

But still, Clough said that there are no specific rules for selecting digital health programs or applications. Between all the hype, there is no book that contains all of the metrics of what makes a tool great and usable or not.

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