The Qualities of Successful Digital Health Products
Digital health products are an increasingly important part of the healthcare industry. As healthcare, like most industries, moves away from traditional methods and to digital solutions, the products that help create these solutions become more common and more advanced.
Because of the increase in digital healthcare products in the marketplace, companies are keen to ensure their products have a real impact on their industry–and the competition is really heating up. Early on in the digital health transformation, putting forward a digital solution was enough to interest the market and gain a foothold. But that's changed, given how crowded the digital healthcare product universe has become–now, a product really must stand out.
What makes a digital health product stand out? Successful digital health products must meet several different demands to prove exceptional in the marketplace. To help people understand what a great digital health product looks like, we'll look at several of the common qualities of successful digital health products.
They Meet a Need
A major key to success for any product in any industry is that it meets a need. If the product meets a currently unmet need, even better. This is as true for digital health products as it is for any other product. A successful digital health product needs to provide something that a segment of the population needs and, ideally, can't get elsewhere.
In the digital health space, successful products are increasingly meeting more and more specific needs. Niche healthcare products have been finding success as healthcare and medicine become a more personal and customized endeavor.
In the past, healthcare products were rewarded if they served a broad range of users. Today, that has changed. If digital products can serve a targeted group with great results, the product will oftentimes be more successful than a product that delivers lesser results to a wider range of users.
They put patient and practitioner experience first
As mentioned above, when digital health products became a major part of the healthcare industry, just offering a digital solution was enough for a product to find some measure of success. Now, with heightened levels of competition, one of the best ways for a digital health product to succeed is to emphasize the user experience.
People now are accustomed to using technology and digital products these days, and they know the difference between a good and bad user experience. If a digital health product doesn't make the lives of its users easier and simpler, it simply will not take hold.
The other important piece of the digital health product user experience is that it needs to provide that great experience for both ends of the equation. There are two groups of users for each digital product, the medical professional and the patient. If the user experience skews too far towards one of these groups and neglects the other, it is doomed to fail.
Because the user experience is so critical, the key term in digital health products is engagement. Users on both ends of the product need to not only be able to but must want to engage with the product in order for it to find success. This Orthogonal article has more insights on how to make sure you create a digital health product people actually engage with.
They improve fast
One of the best things about digital health products is that they are, in almost all cases, connected to the internet. This allows these machines to “communicate” with each other and with humans thanks to the connectivity provided by the internet. This is a key element in many of the benefits that digital health products provide.
One of the most powerful benefits internet connectivity provides developers is the ability to update the software to improve the product. This creates what is called a fast feedback loop. When users can use a digital health product in a real-world scenario and report issues or desired upgrades to developers, the connectivity of that product allows the updates to be done relatively simply and quickly.
Creators of successful digital health products know that this fast feedback loop gives digital products the advantage over traditional healthcare products that only offered updates and upgrades when a new model came out. For this reason, the makers of successful digital products work hard to create the fastest feedback loop possible and strive for continuous improvement of their product.
They find champions
The greatest digital health products in the world sometimes fail to take hold. The product may address a need perfectly, it may emphasize the user experience on all fronts, and it may offer quick and continuous improvement. Even then, though, the product may sometimes struggle to find success without a little human help along the way.
Even the best designed digital health products need a human push to gain widespread acceptance. This is why the businesses around successful digital health products know that finding a champion within an industry or organization is key. In general product terms, marketing is a key driver of sales. For digital health products, you need to find product ambassadors within the organization to “market” the product for you.
This means people who will, first, use it, and second, lead others to start using the product. Digital transformation is tough and without someone in the industry or organization proselytizing on your product's behalf, the product may be ignored and never get a real shot at success.
There is no single path you can take to ensure the success of a digital health product. However, there are certain things you can do to increase the chances of success. The more a digital health product can meet a specific, possibly unmet need, prioritize the user experience, offer fast feedback loops, and find people to push for it within an organization or industry, the greater the chances of success.