April 14, 2015 How to Choose What Digital Health Product to Use Clinical evidence is a key differentiator in deciding which digital healthcare products to use – just like almost every other product in healthcare. In order to get better outcomes for chronic disease management, it is required that patient-specific data along with pertinent and contextual disease state knowledge be delivered to patients and providers on demand. This is a practical impossibility in the current health care system – digital health can help bridge the divide. Let’s start with the challenges for patients, providers, and the clinical set up. Patients with chronic disease are often overwhelmed. They experience the burden of disease self-management: physiologic monitoring, infrequent office visits, limited support outside the clinical setting, and short and infrequent office visits with the primary care providers. The providers caring for these patients are often in the dark with respect to their patients’ disease self-management. They lack complete, analyzed patient self-report data and ready access to relevant professional care guidelines. Finally, poorly organized paper charts, electronic health records (EHRs) that incompletely address chronic disease management, and lack of connectivity with patient-reported data are all challenges to the achievement of desired health outcomes. The ubiquitous adoption of cell phones across people of all demographics is changing the game. The cell phone and other wearable sensors have supported the evolution of a new platform for data collection and patient–provider communication. These technologies enable highly customizable platforms, available on a 24/7 basis, with the capability of providing real-time feedback (alerts and reminders as well as higher value messaging such as coaching and education), geo-location services, and other features, as well as being a flexible data-capture device. These capabilities have stimulated the development of over 18,000 digital health applications. These applications range from health and wellness to comprehensive solutions used to manage specific diseases. The big question, however, is how do patients and doctors choose among the tens of thousands of digital health products. In discussing the proliferation of digital health, Dr. Francis Collins, Director at NIH has spoken optimistically about the potential of digital health but has also stressed the need to ensure that the right evidence is being collected to show that digital health products are actually improving patient outcomes. This challenge of collecting the appropriate clinical and scientific evidence is one that should be embraced by the digital health community. Clinical evidence will be a key differentiator for both patients and doctors in deciding which products to use – just like it is for almost every other product in healthcare. Photo credit: Sony SmartBand Talk_1 via photopin (license) Tags CultureIoTDevelopment Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Sign up for our monthly newsletter. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.