New digital technologies have the potential to greatly improve our healthcare system on multiple fronts. Telemedicine allowed many patients to communicate with their doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic; during the height of the pandemic, 30% of all visits were televisits. More broadly, digital technologies and sensors are now allowing more patients to receive care via a hospital at home. For instance, OSF HealthCare in Illinois and Michigan unveiled a “digital hospital at home” model which combines in-person care and a digital command center that provides care coordination. Digital therapeutics may even replace some of your pills. Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRx, for instance, is an FDA-approved video-game based app to treat patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Despite this promise, many digital technologies will fail. In addition to the technical challenges of making the technology work, innovators face a number of obstacles including: (1) value demonstration; (2) regulatory hurdles; (3) provider reimbursement challenges; (4) integration into daily practice; and (5) data security, among others.
We go into all 5 of these challenge in more detail in the full article.