More people than ever before are using technology to monitor and track their own health or the health of a loved one. According to Parks Associates, the fitness tracker market is set to nearly triple, reaching $5.4 billion by 2019. These digital health devices are becoming a part of our socio-cultural fabric; mobile fitness trackers and connected clinical devices will be as common an accessory as a smartphone in the next five years.

This quick and significant growth represents enormous potential for healthcare providers as they explore new ways to extend their reach and connect to their patient populations. Care is moving beyond the four walls of the hospital or physician’s office, and provider organizations are beginning to invest in the infrastructure and programs to help launch data-driven initiatives.

These new, remote sources of patient health data provide valuable information to caregivers−whether it is a physician, nurse, clinician, or lab technician−that can be used in the treatment of a patient. With technology, healthcare providers are now able to monitor existing conditions, diagnose earlier and with more accuracy, and provide better preventative care.

In order to incorporate information from all of these new sources, providers need to establish a clear digital health strategy that incorporates telehealth and virtual visit services, remote patient monitoring, and analytics. All of these initiatives are critical to the future success of a healthcare organization. And, key to the success of those initiatives is patient-generated data.

The Landscape: Where Is Digital Health Today?

Most providers have yet to implement or successfully launch a digital health strategy. In the summer of 2015, Validic, a healthcare technology company, surveyed more than 450 healthcare organizations to gain a better understanding of the current state of their digital health strategies.

According to the “Global Progress in Digital Health” survey, the majority of respondents (59 percent) are either behind schedule with their strategy or have no digital health strategy at all. The remaining 41 percent of organizations say they are on schedule with their digital health strategy.

Respondents were primarily healthcare providers, but also included pharmaceutical companies, wellness companies and healthcare technology vendors. The survey garnered responses from healthcare professionals, who are members of the American Telemedicine Association, as well as subscribers to MedCityNews and MobiHealthNews.

For organizations that are behind the curve in formulating and excuting their digital health strategy, there are tactics and technology partners available to help quickly kickstart programs and initiatives. To learn more about the five key steps to launching a digital health strategy, or reinvigorating an existing one, download the white paper.

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