Digital solutions in the healthcare sector offer enormous potential: Companies can use apps, wearables and other offers to create new streams of revenue, make use of cross-selling opportunities and position themselves as innovative providers. However, the right path is difficult to make out. So far there are no generally proven recipes for success because digital healthcare solutions are still a relatively new segment. Every solution has to be custom designed and implemented. Essentially a walk across thin ice – a false step can be costly. That also applies to the biggest players in the industry.
Our customer was also facing this challenge – a global market leader in medical technology with the goal of offering a digital health solution in the cardiovascular field. We supported him in designing and validating a solution based on the needs of diverse medical stakeholders. To facilitate the roll-out of further digital offers, a toolbox for modular solutions that structures the future creation processes was created.
When designing digital solutions, the question regarding the approach comes up first. That is also the case in the healthcare sector, where there are two basic options. For example, there is the option to focus on the end user: A gap in the market is identified and the digital solution is then designed to close it across target groups and clinical pictures. An example could be an app that improves the general connectivity between the physician and patient.
Another option is to take a specific clinical picture as the basis for a solution and to identify relevant target groups that would benefit from the digital solution. Our customer also chose this approach. At the beginning of the project, therefore, the task was to identify a medical field or clinical picture in which our customer already offers non-digital solutions that digital solutions can complement.
In the following course, the cardiovascular area was selected as an area of application due to its high potential for digital solutions and comparatively simpler medical progression of diseases. The number of stakeholders involved and volume of required data are thus manageable. To begin with, the cardiovascular area within the medical continuum was identified that exhibited the biggest demand for digital health solutions. To this end, expert interviews with different interest groups were conducted: with general practitioners, emergency doctors, cardiologists, neurologists, internal specialists, rehabilitation staff, cardiovascular patients and health insurance companies.
As expected, the various interest groups had very different needs at times. Naturally, the next step was thus to evaluate and prioritize these. As a result, five new concepts for digital health solutions in the cardiovascular area were created, including wellbeing-wearable solutions for healthy patients and cardiac-acute phase solutions to help physicians treat acutely affected patients.
The five concepts were evaluated together with the core project team, compared with existing solutions available on the market and their compatibility with our customer’s existing portfolio was assessed. Thus a preferred concept emerged, which was presented to the interest groups involved and then developed further together.
A detailed image of the patient flow within the acute phase of a cardiovascular disease was created. It summarized relevant spatial, communication, monetary and data-oriented aspects. The goal here was to carry out a parallelization of all important data – to reach a structured and accelerated process for making decisions. In addition, the value story of the new solution was formed and custom-adapted to the interest groups addressed.
The modular Digital Health Blueprint offers an efficient, comprehensive decision-making basis for the development of digital innovations. The illustration shown visualizes the building blocks for a cardiac acute phase solution, as an example. The solution’s building blocks make it easier to determine the important key points of product development and at the same time accelerate the development process. It is important to question and adapt the modular building blocks for each individual solution – for a wellbeing wearable, for example, other elements are important in many areas than for the example shown.
The goal of any digital health solution is to satisfy a non-digital need. It can be difficult to identify and also to create an effective solution concept is challenging. That was also the case with our customer: While he was aware of the potential added value of a digital solution, there was uncertainty when it came to selecting and designing a specific solution. To lastingly remove this uncertainty, we developed a needs matrix with two dimensions: the medical continuum and stakeholders. It assesses the need (low, medium, high) and its nature (medical, emotional, economic) per digital solution. In this manner, we were able to prioritize the most effective digital solutions for our customers and important cornerstones for the further design were set.
Numerous digital solutions fail because they do not sufficiently take the needs of the own company into account during the design process. Our customer wanted to make sure that this does not happen and that the new digital health solution would fulfill the stakeholder wishes in the best possible way: The focus was on user orientation. In addition to finding solutions with the help of the needs matrix, detailed stakeholder interviews were conducted, which clearly identified the needs and made the further decision-making and development process more efficient. Furthermore, the user focus made it easier to create an effective value story that is based on medical, emotional and economic details and that is designed to ensure the marketing success of the new solution.
Every digital solution is unique and must be custom-adapted to the clinical picture and the interests of the stakeholders – but a common starting point makes a custom design much easier. That is why it was important to our customer to create scalability for future digital solutions independent of the area of application. To do so, we applied our Homburg & Partner blueprint concept with ten sub-steps, which a total of 40 modular building blocks are assigned to. It is aimed at answering fundamental strategic and commercial questions for the development of digital health solutions. Within the concept, different concept ideas and marketing options can be combined using the building blocks. The outcome: An easy-to-use innovation toolbox for our customers that saves time and is scalable across different steps of the medical continuum and clinical pictures.
If you are interested in finding out more about our services in the field of digital innovation or would like to discuss similar approaches for your company, just spend a few seconds to leave an inquiry on our contact form. Our partner Karl-Hubertus Gruber will personally contact you promptly. Alternatively, you are welcome to email or call us!