Blog: The Provider Dilemma – Accelerating Digital Health Technology Adoption

While the pandemic is often credited with the accelerated adoption of digital health technologies among healthcare systems, the true investment by these organizations in these solutions remain in its infancy. While tele-health platforms were forced into action as the primary patient care approach during this time (most patients now prefer this, coincidentally), organizations are slowly competing for patient loyalty in large part through strategic technology acquisitions. Tools for workflow enhancement, systems for digital EHR and data integration, and consumer devices for remote monitoring have all contributed to boosting efficiencies such as reducing patient wait times, lowering waiting room volume, and providing more streamlined, coordinated care amongst providers.

These developments resulting from the post COVID world have ignited investment opportunities for digital health solutions, resulting in record investments made during and beyond the COVID disruption. In 2020, funding rose 72% alone and in 2021, investments reached an all-time high of $26.5 billion.

However, many healthcare organizations struggled to evolve along with the digital health explosion, relying on archaic procedures and failing to adopt a progressive digital health strategy.

Now, through comprehensive data collected recently by Panda Health, we have an extensive look at the impact digital health is having on healthcare organizations, and insight into how they have responded.

Some key takeaways from the 2022 Hospital Digital Health Technology Report include:

  • Only 6% of healthcare organizations have a formal, implemented digital health strategy.
  • 90+% believe they will develop one in the next three years.
  • About 70% admit to significant difficulties in navigating the digital health marketplace due to overcrowding or finding a solution that meets their exact needs.
  • Over 80% state it is even more difficult to align internal stakeholders on new solutions.
  • 66% state their current process to acquire new technology solutions takes over 6 months.
  • Only 25% indicate that after the entire process, they feel confident the solution actually meets their needs.
  • 98% recognize that procuring digital health solutions will improve patient outcomes.

These insights offer an incredible glimpse at the state of digital health today, juxtaposed against healthcare systems that are finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of these innovations. While many buyers are quick to identify the benefits these solutions will have on efficiencies, patient care, and outcomes, their flawed strategies have left them struggling to keep up with competitors already providing advanced care solutions.  Furthermore, those that are providing these solutions are not demonstrating confidence that the chosen solution is delivering the anticipated benefits. As a result, these organizations need to take steps to understand and manage the evolving domains of digital technology solutions and align them to the new patient preferences in a post COVID environment. The question is, what steps can be taken immediately to advance their own digital health literacy?

Establish a Robust Digital Health Strategy

By establishing a concise and transparent strategy for digital health solution procurement, healthcare executives can communicate more effectively as to the organization’s stance on technology adoption, identification of innovative products, and the basic prerequisites for any solution under consideration. Following this, a detailed process for evaluating, selecting, and implementing these solutions can be utilized by clinicians to jump start the process. Without this, many providers often develop confusion over the requirements, and waste countless hours hunting them down in order to move the process forward.

Innovate to Accelerate Timelines

Streamlining procedures often require outside the box thinking and mutual collaboration to make a strategy impactful. So is knowing your limitations. The most surprising statistic from this survey is that 56% of respondents stated that partnering with another organization on a digital health strategy would allow them to evaluate and implement technology solutions faster. Digital health marketplaces such as Panda or ADviCE offer healthcare organizations a curated set of services to form a centralized approach to digital health solution adoption, streamlining the selection and contracting process, saving valuable time and resources.

Allow Decision Makers to Drive the Process

Healthcare organizations need to empower clinicians to seek out advanced solutions that will drive increased patient volume, loyalty, and outcomes. They are the feet on the street for the organization and often their interactions with patients determine how the patient ultimately feels about the healthcare system. These providers should have autonomy to engage freely and simultaneously with internal drivers such as management, IT security and value/ROI about satisfying the requirements to adoption. Ultimately, supporting and enabling their desires for advancing care will positively impact the bottom line.

While it is still the early stages of the digital health revolution, the next three years will be critical to determining its impact on providers and patients. Undoubtedly, technologies will only go as far as healthcare organizations drive them, requiring digital health technology companies to work side by side healthcare organizations in their quest for modernization and consumer differentiation.