Recently, at a joint meeting of the remote monitoring special interest group and the digital transformation special interest group for the American Telemedicine Association, I had the great pleasure of leading a conversation between innovation leaders Sarah Harper and Gemma Lowery from Mayo Clinic and Christiana Care respectively, and founders of three pioneering health tech startups, 6Degrees, Strados Labs and Nanowear.
The intent was to have a conversation about how we layer digital transformation tools on top of already existing remote monitoring platforms and processes to further the goals of remote monitoring programs. Immediately we are provoked with the question, what do we mean by "digital transformation tools?"
To put some structure to the conversation, we framed the discussion to focus on advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, automation, generative AI, ambient sensor technology, patient engagement technology, reality overlays, and digital therapeutics. Part of the work we do in the digital transformation SIG is to define what we mean by these tools (an ongoing process). We then got on with how these two groups approach this space. Here are three of the many nuggets that I took away from the discussion.
Framework Makes the Game Work
Accelerate decision making and attractiveness for a healthcare system by providing a framework that make sense for evaluation. I loved Sarah's framing evaluation for AI products based on desirability (do customers want this?), feasibility (can we technically and financially make this happen?), and viability (do we have the operations to support this tool?). Such a framework could be a useful tool for digital health companies to anticipate the needs and concerns of healthcare providers when developing their products.
Become a Legomaniac!
I loved Gemma's metaphor of the health system being the base plate in a Lego set. Organizations wishing to add value to remote monitoring programs offered by these systems must be able to snap into place, i.e. easily connect in a modular way into the overarching infrastructure. This means that tech companies that require their own platform, or dashboard, or similar aren't going to be successful. Ironically, you can't connect K'Nex with Lego.
There's No Time "Cool" Products
Digital health companies must figure out the value proposition for their product and specifically how that value proposition can be applied to the specific customer's need. Healthcare providers are making their investments based on a prioritized list of business cases. Notably this is different than simply use cases as it recognizes the necessary business model and scale for the technology to thrive. If a product is only valuable in a value-based care arrangement and is overly reliant on additional staffing models or bloated workflows, it will not be considered.
By end of the conversation, everyone in the discussion agreed one thing in particular. We could have continued that conversation for hours. There's so much to be done in this space. I look forward working with my esteemed SIG co-chair colleagues Carrie Nixon of Nixon Gwilt Law and Bill Paschall from Clear Arch Health to further develop these concepts into useful tools for members of the ATA.