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Delivering digital health products that make a difference: 3 essential ideas for innovators

When creating digital health products that make a real difference for the patients and HCPs that use them, and help pharma teams to deliver on their own goals and objectives, there are some key things that providers should consider.

Based on a talk delivered at the 2023 Digital Health Advances Conference, our CEO, Rob Verheul, shares his top 3 pieces of advice.

by Rob Verheul
01 August 23
  • Digital Product Design
  • Customer Experience
  • User Research

Digital health innovation holds the potential to transform healthcare, but success in this field is not easily achieved. Our recent research reveals that a mere 4% of digital product launches consistently succeed.

This alarming statistic prompts us to explore the underlying reasons and discover actionable strategies to increase the likelihood of success. Here, we will delve into three essential ideas that can pave the way for success in digital health.

Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience when developing digital health solutions is crucial, as there is a need to connect with individuals living with health conditions on a personal level. By conducting user experience research, we gain insights into their experiences, needs, and desires. Viewing them not just as patients but as people allows us to create solutions that truly resonate. 

“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease”
Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler's words, remind us of the importance of connecting with our users on a deeper level.

Building trust is another critical factor. Understanding user concerns and focusing on the emotional and physical states of our end-users, such as uncertainty about next steps, helps us address them effectively. How does a stage 4 cancer patient's emotional state and real-world context impact their adoption of a digital product? Failing to comprehend our customers can result in the creation of products that fail to meet their needs or gain their trust.

Prioritise Purpose

Aligning organisational motivations with the purpose behind digital health initiatives is essential. Are you aiming to improve patient outcomes, raise awareness, or generate profit - or all three? Honesty about these motivations is key; clear articulation of this up-front will help designers and technologists create a more effective solution.

To ensure success, we must ensure focus is on demonstrating efficacy, quickly, rather than just ‘launching’ - which can often become the goal. Starting with prototyping means that you can quickly create solutions and test that they meet the user need, before you get into the technical solution design which is often complex and slow. This approach helps build confidence internally, and get buy-in faster.

Measure What Matters

Measurement is often overlooked but plays a vital role in achieving success. We must align our measurement criteria with the purpose of our organisation and users. By doing so, we can refine our products based on data and continuously enhance their impact.

However, effectiveness alone is insufficient to retain and engage users. Active efforts are required to find, convince, and support our audience. As the saying goes, "Your audience isn't waiting for your solution. You'll have to go and find them, convince them, and look after them."

By measuring what truly matters and nurturing user relationships, we can create a holistic experience that surpasses the effectiveness of individual features or technologies.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, success in digital health innovation is attainable by embracing three essential ideas:

  1. Knowing your audience, so you can bring in their voice.

  2. Prioritising purpose in order to let it guide your product roadmap.

  3. Measuring what matters, so it’s clear when you achieve the goals.

By implementing these strategies, innovators will increase their chances of success and make a meaningful impact in the digital health landscape.

Looking for support in delivering digital products that makes the difference?

We collaborate with healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to create innovative digital patient and HCP experiences through research, strategy and human-centric design.

To learn more about how we can support you, get in touch.

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