Considering a digital health program? 5 steps to follow

Digital health is slowly becoming a solidified presence in the healthcare space, though many hospitals remain to implement a digital health strategy. A recent survey by Validic found 59 percent of healthcare organizations are behind schedule with their digital health strategy or do not have a digital health strategy in place.

For those healthcare organizations planning to adopt and implement a digital health strategy, Validic offers the following five steps, as presented by HIT Consultant.

1. Create a team. This core team should be cross-departmental with "technology champions" from the executive, clinical, product and IT staffs. A key role of the team will be to educate clinicians on the value of data, sort out details of the digital strategy and collaborate with the IT team to ensure data is being extracted and used in a meaningful way.

2. Identify objectives. Honing in on feasible and realistic expectations helps set a strong foundation for the rest of the strategy. This allows a team to build a workable and accurate roadmap that is best suited for a specific organization.

3. Create a budget. Digital health initiatives offer a strong return on investment case, as these tools often can reduce cost, improve patient outcomes and boost clinician efficiency. Even so, an effective digital health strategy budgets for the implementation, including a full cost justification analysis.

4. Develop partnerships. According to Validic, it is more efficient and effective to partner with technology companies to build the infrastructure to integrate digital health tools instead of doing so in-house.

5. Establish a timeline and launch the strategy. After due diligence of project preparations, organizations should start implementing parts of the strategy as soon as they can. The technology is available now, so why wait? Validic suggests starting with pilot projects and internal deployments to receive feedback to update and upgrade as the roll-out moves along.

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