Tricks and tips for implementing a digital strategy

Brigham and Women's iHub leaders will talk about creating a roadmap for digital implementation at HIMSS20.
By Laura Lovett
03:56 pm

Photo credit: Brigham Digital Innovation Hub

Digital health has gone from an obscure term in the health tech world to buzz words on the lips of every hospital CEO in America. Today startups, hospitals and other stakeholders are working on systems to implement these evolving technologies in practice. 

“Obviously we’ve come a long way in digital health over the last decade or so,” Santosh Mohan, managing director of Brigham and Women’s iHub, told MobiHealthNews. “Digital health went from not being a thing at all, to being a little fragile thing in the early days. … Over the last 10 years we have come to have people in it, we’ve come to have pilots in it and we’ve come to have capital in it.” 

The iHub had an early focus on digital health. Founded in 2013, it serves as the Brigham’s innovation incubator. The team has a history of working with both health tech startups and hospital-grown tech initiatives. 

“It’s the early days for most folks, just like us,” Mohan said. “We at the Brigham are trying to deliver a structured approach with key elements of having the right mindset, the right toolset, the right skillset. [Those] are absolutely essential here.”

At HIMSS20, Mohan and his iHub colleague Dr. Mark Zhang, will be present the session "The Playbook for Getting Down and Dirty with Digital Health," which will provide audiences with tricks and tactics for implementing digital into the clinical arena. 

“I think the purpose of this presentation is to convey and share what we’ve learned [in] six-plus years of digital solutions at Brigham and Women’s. Also, just realizing that it is still early days and coming up with the processes. [We] have learned from mistakes in the past to get to a process that we think is working pretty well,” Zhang said. “At a high level, some of things we’ll be talking about include thinking about implementing digital health in a more systematic way, including a technical step to enable digital health, while also implementing processes and setting expectations and education around what it means to do digital health in an academic medical center and how to scope it for the result that the clinician or end users are hoping for.”

Unlike medication, there is no single straight path for implementing digital tools. Therefore, the pair plan to talk about setting up a structure to support innovation and implementation. 

“We are not measuring our success by the number of pitches that we listen to or the startups that we bring in to explore pilots. And we are not saying, ‘Oh look we got the operations to try new things so we are innovating.’ We don’t have that innovation theater mindset,” Mohan said.  

“We are being more strategic and going about it with a road map and a repeatable framework, building not just individual capabilities, but also portfolio capabilities so they can be leveraged to a broad initiative and strategic initiative.”

In addition to just creating the right avenues for implementation, the talk will also focus on bringing together a diverse team to work on these digital iniatives. Increasingly, hospitals and other health entities are starting tech incubation hubs, however, most of these teams have a modest number of staff on them. 

“We’re a fairly small team, and most innovation teams or teams focused on digital health … are fairly small in scope, and the task is a broad one,” Zhang said. “I think having a clarity of scope and a take is incredibly important. Our take this year is really about looking at the pulls within the system to focus on and ideally think about ways we can utilize these interventions in different ways. Like the concept of using every part of the buffalo. When we do something, we want it to be ideally reusable or have a pathway to be used in some other way.”

Santosh Mohan and Dr. Mark Zhang will be presenting "The Playbook for Getting Down and Dirty With Digital Health" at HIMSS20. It is scheduled for 10:00-11:00a.m on March 12 at the Orange Country Convention Center in room W304A.


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