In the current stage of digital health arena, new innovations are abound promising a great future in the coming 5-10 years. Buzz words such as ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’, ‘patient engagement’, big ‘data’ and plethora of other words keep being thrown around in the industry to indicate the grand sweeping changes in healthcare. From our experience as a digital health innovator, the reality is drastically different then what we read digital health headlines. While innovations and changes are occurring at an unprecedented rate, innovation in industry is far ahead of the adoption rate.
While many digital health innovations are in prototype or early development stage, other technologies are are ready for market. Yet, the trend within the healthcare domain indicates severe lag in adoption. When the industry and innovators have moved well beyond telemedicine, hospitals tout the adoption of basic telemedicine platform (just video) as a revolutionary or a game changer – telemedicine has been in use for nearly two decades. Of course there are many complexities in the adoption and integration of technologies that are prohibitive for myriad of reasons, we understand that. However, there remains a deep chasm between innovators and adopters. Technology is maturing faster than users and organizations.
The new paradigm shift in digital health is user-centric approach, certainly that is what we pursued with DocToDoor, a patient-centric solution that should be useable, engaging, and sustain its use. Often what has resulted is the opposite, build a system and think of the user afterwards. For example, build an EMR and think of the clinician afterwards. The former, as described above, is a Human-Centered Design (HCD) approach to systems – make technology user friendly from the very beginning. However, how does one make technology organization friendly?
The lack of timely adoption is increasingly due to factors not related to usability of technology. In fact, both the technology and the user have the maturity, what lags is the organization. As digital health innovators, the best we can do is educate healthcare organizations about the genuine benefits for the organization and the people (Clinicians and Patients). To bring about changes in healthcare, we must not only disrupt technologically, but organizational culture as well.