Digital and Personal Connected Health: Hospitals share strategies for success as digital technologies hit the mainstream

By Jonah Comstock

Digital health has come a long way over the past decade. From clinical communication and care coordination, to patient entertainment and education, to virtual visits and AI-based triage tools, there are more ways for hospitals to leverage the smartphone for care transformation than ever before. 

These technologies aren't just pilots or prototypes — they've arrived, at least at the forward thinking institutions that have decided to deploy them. A number of those hospital innovation leaders are gathering in Las Vegas in March for the , an event co-organized by HIMSS, HIMSS Media, the Personal Connected Health Alliance, and

At the day-long event, different stakeholders will share success stories as well as present on up-and-coming tech trends and the likely future of the space. 

Adoption and the challenges therein will be the topic of a morning leadership presentation by Partners' VP of Connected Health, Dr. Joseph Kvedar, and Reena Sangar, head of digital and connected health at Ipsos Healthcare. They will talk about how to implement and enable new technologies like patient-generated health data, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

The morning keynote speaker, Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Innovation Dr. David Asch, will introduce another tool for driving adoption and culture change in healthcare: behavioral economics. He will apply lessons from other industries to predict and guide the future of healthcare.

The afternoon will feature concrete examples of digital health deployment from a number of well-known, well-regarded health systems. Speakers from Carolinas HealthCare System will share lessons from the health system's Proactive Health practice, which has achieved better than an 80 percent rate of blood pressure control among more than 250 previously uncontrolled hypertensive patients. Attendees will also hear about New-York Presbyterian's smartphone-based clinical communication system, Phoenix Childrens' deployment of tablets for patient entertainment, and Kaiser Permanente Northwest's deployment of virtual visits, which more than doubled the efficiency of its supervising nurses.

Juhan Sonin, a lecturer in design and engineering at Massachusettes Insitute of Technology, will present the afternoon keynote "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Robot Doctor." Sonin will describe the breakthroughs that are pushing the industry toward “invisible” monitoring, which include the continued development of non-invasive sensors and the proliferation of smartphones among consumers.

And for yet another approach to driving adoption and changing culture, Amy Schwartz, human-centric design thought leader at Battelle, will talk about the role of design in healthcare. She'll talk about how small design changes can make a big difference.

There's plenty more on the table, including presentations about machine learning, social determinants of health, the effect of incentives on adherence, and a regulatory update. 

Digital health is here to stay and its rapidly changing the healthcare industry. At the Digital Personal and Connected Health event in Las Vegas, attendees will have the opportunity to learn how to make that change work for their health system, and how not to get left behind.