Catalyzing healthcare transformation with digital health: Performance indicators and lessons learned from a Digital Health Innovation Group

Healthc (Amst). 2018 Jun;6(2):150-155. doi: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 27.


Despite considerable investment in digital health (DH) companies and a growing DH ecosystem, there are multiple challenges to testing and implementing innovative solutions. Health systems have recognized the potential of DH and have formed DH innovation centers. However, limited information is available on DH innovation center processes, best practices, or outcomes. This case report describes a DH innovation center process that can be replicated across health systems and defines and benchmarks process indicators to assess DH innovation center performance. The Brigham and Women's Hospital's Digital Health Innovation Group (DHIG) accelerates DH innovations from idea to pilot safely and efficiently using a structured process. Fifty-four DH innovations were accelerated by the DHIG process between July 2014 and December 2016. In order to measure effectiveness of the DHIG process, key process indicators were defined as 1) number of solutions that completed each DHIG phase and 2) length of time to complete each phase. Twenty-three DH innovations progressed to pilot stage and 13 innovations were terminated after barriers to pilot implementation were identified by the DHIG process. For 4 DH solutions that executed a pilot, the average time for innovations to proceed from DHIG intake to pilot initiation was 9 months. Overall, the DHIG is a reproducible process that addresses key roadblocks in DH innovation within health systems. To our knowledge, this is the first report to describe DH innovation process indicators and results within an academic health system. Therefore, there is no published data to compare our results with the results of other DH innovation centers. Standardized data collection and indicator reporting could allow benchmark comparisons across institutions. Additional opportunities exist for the validation of DH solution effectiveness and for translational support from pilot to implementation. These are critical steps to advance DH technologies and effectively leverage the DH ecosystem to transform healthcare.

Keywords: Care transformation; Digital health; Health information technology; Information systems; Innovation.

MeSH terms

  • Health Information Exchange
  • Humans
  • Inventions / trends*
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / trends*