It Is Not Enough To Just Have A Good Idea Or A Nice Implementation In One Place

July 23, 2019
Digital Health

Digital health innovations are booming, but so far this market remains unregulated. What is to be done to ensure sustainable digitalization in healthcare?

The critical point with digital innovation is that it is never just digital.  It also requires changes to how people work, to organizations, and to the system as a whole – such as changing financial systems, indeed.  So when looking for digital health transformation, it is vital to take this whole-systems perspective and recognize the complexity of the changes involved.

How to find a balance between startups willing to change healthcare through innovations and conservative healthcare policy?

We are observing quick progress in the field of AI in healthcare. Algorithms can diagnose diseased on an early stage; wearables make prevention more personalized and effective.

The bridge between innovation and established practice is evidence.  It is not enough to just have a good idea or a nice implementation in one place.  If we can accompany innovations with effective monitoring and means of generating evidence about how they compare to existing practice, that will provide the basis of a transition from innovative examples to changing practice more widely.

We need to monitor the uptake of digital technologies and their impact in practice

How should health policy adapt to these “disruptive" technologies?

We need to invest not just in innovations, but in systematic and structured mechanisms for monitoring their uptake and impact in practice.

How can digitalization contribute to achieving the UN's SDGs?

There is clearly potential for digital technologies to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health systems as with all other public services, and health has proven to be a particularly complex and challenging area to realize that potential.  But these technologies have revolutionized entire sectors of society; of course, they have the potential to help achieve the SDGs.

Smartwatches can measure ECG or the quality of health - regardless of health policies, innovations are adapted by patients who can afford them. What should be done to prevent a digital divide in healthcare?

Equity and equality are not the same.  People will always have different circumstances and be suited by different things.  The ideal is not to treat everyone as though they are identical; the ideal is to have an individualized approach that is adapted to different people and suits their particular circumstances and needs.

Could you please complete the sentence: Healthcare systems in the digital age should…

…adapt and innovate to take advantage of digital technologies.

The European Health Forum Gastein 2019 “A healthy dose of disruption? Transformative change for health and societal well-being” will take place from 2-4 October 2019, in Bad Hofgastein, Austria. This year's agenda is meant to spur the dialogue on how an appropriate level of disruption can effectively revolutionize the health sector. Registration: