Benefits of Digital Health Platforms


Digital health platforms are reshaping healthcare, from accelerating diagnoses to personalizing treatment plans and democratizing healthcare access. These platforms, whether an app on your phone or large-scale healthcare software, generate, collect, and analyze health data to enhance patient care. These platforms are a meeting ground for healthcare professionals, patients, and technology, all interacting to enhance patient care and health outcomes

Popular digital health platforms, such as Teladoc Health, Fitbit Health Solutions, and, have become staples in our daily life. Teladoc offers on-demand telehealth consultations, Fitbit uses data to encourage healthier lifestyles, and leverages AI for personalized mental health services. These platforms feed the growing demand for wearable technology by interpreting and leveraging the data generated. This real-time data collection supports preventive medicine, highlighting potential health issues before they worsen, saving lives, and reducing healthcare costs.

Digital health platforms also enable the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), revolutionizing how patient information is stored and shared. EHRs enhance the coordination among healthcare providers and empower patients with access to their health records at all times.

And then there is AI, which is increasingly adopted in digital health platforms. Whether predicting patient risks, improving diagnoses, personalizing treatment plans, or even providing mental health therapy through AI chatbot therapists like Woebot, AI is a powerful ally in this digital health revolution. These advancements exemplify how technology transforms healthcare delivery, improves outcomes, and enhances patient experiences.

Recent trends in digital health platforms have conversational and rule-based AI playing the companion-doctor-caregiver et al. in healthcare. AI-driven platforms offer predictive analytics for patient risk stratification, improving the diagnosis of diseases with machine learning algorithms and personalizing treatment plans based on big data analysis.

Let’s deconstruct and understand in-depth about the various benefits of digital health platforms.

The Benefits of Digital Health Platforms

Digital health platforms are transforming healthcare, offering various benefits beyond convenience. Topping the page is enhanced accessibility; no matter where you are, your health data is just a few taps away. Or consider the power of data integration, enabling seamless collaboration among healthcare professionals and improving the accuracy of diagnoses. Personalized and customized care is an amenity that has highly individualized healthcare. It is no longer about administering the same medical discoveries to masses of populations.  These platforms deliver health insights tailored to individual needs, facilitating preventive care like never before. The era of digital health is here, redefining the patient-doctor relationship and driving proactive health management.

1. Speed Up Time to Market

In health technology, speed is of the essence. A tardy response time will nudge a business into a corner. Digital health platforms press the pedal on processes as these platforms come pre-packaged with all tools used to develop from scratch. It's like buying a fully furnished house.

These platforms handle a lot of the regulatory and technical heavy lifting so innovators can focus on creating new health solutions. See it this way: instead of worrying about data privacy, interoperability, or security - all complex issues - businesses can dedicate their energy towards refining their products and services.

Plus, they often offer a marketplace for third-party integrations, like an app store. This availability of a digital market makes it super easy to add additional features or capabilities. And all of this combined means that startups or even established players can bring their health tech solutions to market much faster. How exactly do digital platforms expedite matters - let's take a look!

Prebuilt Components reduce the Timeline.

Prebuilt components, often called modules or templates, are like the building blocks in a Lego set. You can quickly assemble them to create a more complex structure, saving you the time and effort of carving each piece individually. In the context of digital health platforms, these components range from user authentication modules to patient data management systems to built-in telehealth functionalities.

When these components are pre-made, developers don't have to write every line of code from scratch. The pre-made components do not just cut down on development time but also on testing and debugging. These components are typically proven, reliable, and ready to deploy, meaning there's less risk of encountering errors down the line, and if there are any, they can be fixed more quickly.

And, just like Legos, these prebuilt components are often designed with compatibility in mind. They can easily integrate with other parts of the platform, allowing for quicker assembly and more efficient performance. This quickness in assembly enables digital health platforms to get their product to market quicker and focus their resources on enhancing features and improving user experience. So, think of these prebuilt components as a shortcut to a more efficient and faster timeline!

Similarly, these components, like electronic health record modules, telemedicine capabilities, or appointment scheduling systems, are already tried, tested, and ready for use. This ready-to-use software platform drastically reduces development time, just like our cake mix. This way, healthcare businesses don't need to start from scratch, a process that can be both lengthy and costly.

By using these components, platforms can focus more on customizing their offerings and adding unique features, accelerating their product’s time to market. This quick movement of the product is a real game-changer in digital health. It speeds up processes and opens doors for innovative solutions to make healthcare more accessible and efficient. And just like that, you're serving your customers quicker than ever!

Custom features take time to build and test

Building and testing custom features in software development is quite an elaborate process. First, there's the 'requirements gathering' phase. Here, the team identifies what the new feature should do, how it should look, and how users should interact with it. This identification process can involve discussions with stakeholders, mockups, and lots of back-and-forth to get the requirements right.

Then comes the 'design and development' phase. Here, software developers start writing code to create the feature. Depending on the complexity, this could take several weeks or even months. If multiple developers are working on the feature, there's also the time needed for coordination to ensure everyone's work aligns.

Once the feature is built, we move to the 'testing' phase. Quality assurance teams check for any bugs or issues. They ensure the feature works as intended, doesn't break any existing features, and is user-friendly. Any problems found are returned to the developers to be fixed, which can add more time.

Finally, once everything's perfect, there's the 'deployment' phase, where the feature is released to users. Even after this, the team continues to monitor for any potential issues that users may report. So creating custom features is like a marathon, not a sprint. It requires careful planning, execution, and plenty of patience.

Ready and available Digital health platforms have changed the way healthcare businesses function. Instead of starting from scratch, they offer pre-existing modules and infrastructure, so you're not reinventing the wheel. That significantly shortens development and testing time.

These platforms usually have flexible APIs, enabling businesses to customize solutions according to their unique needs well within the budgeted timeline.These platforms come pre-built with regulatory and security requirements specific to the healthcare industry, like HIPAA or GDPR. That's a huge relief because regulatory compliance can be hugely time-consuming.

Moreover, they provide continuous updates and improvements, ensuring businesses are always up-to-date with the latest tech trends and standards. With digital health platforms, healthcare businesses can truly focus on what they do best: providing excellent patient care without getting bogged down by the tech side of things.

2. Reduces Upfront Costs

Digital health platforms reduce upfront costs. If we go by the rule book, setting up a healthcare facility involves hefty investments in infrastructure, medical equipment, and hiring a sizable workforce. But these frilly costs can be slashed with digital health platforms. They provide centralized health services digitally, eliminating the need for physical space. These platforms can automate various administrative tasks, saving you money on human resources. Also, investing in these platforms is typically a one-time cost, unlike recurring expenses like rent or salaries. And let's remember the added advantage of reaching out to a more extensive patient base, even in remote areas. So digital health platforms do help to significantly lower upfront costs.

Custom digital health software costs hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to build

Custom digital health software involves a plethora of complex elements that can drive the cost into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. First, it requires a team of skilled software engineers, data scientists, and healthcare professionals to develop a system that is both technologically sound and compliant with healthcare regulations. The process also involves designing user-friendly interfaces and ensuring the software can interact with other health systems, which requires time and expertise.

Security is another significant cost driver, as protecting sensitive health data is essential. Also, the software must undergo rigorous testing and quality assurance to prevent any malfunction that could jeopardize patient health or violate compliance standards. Lastly, the software requires constant updates and maintenance post-launch, adding to the long-term cost. Therefore, while costly, these investments are essential for creating reliable, effective, and safe digital health software.

Platform components can be licensed for a fraction of the cost on a yearly basis.

Healthcare industries can significantly cut their upfront costs by renting licenses for platform components every year. Instead of paying a large lump sum to buy these components outright, they pay a smaller yearly fee for user rights. This approach can free up funds for other critical areas, such as research, patient care, and talent acquisition.

Also, licensing can benefit from regular updates and improvements, meaning healthcare providers always stay up-to-date with technology. And it's a more flexible option. If a particular software or tool needs to meet their needs, they can simply switch to another when the license expires instead of being stuck with a costly investment.

There are various tariff models that a subscriber or user can opt for rather than going in for custom-built software. The pay-per-user model, also known as a subscription model, is popular among many digital health platforms, and it is a great way to minimize the cost of producing customized software.

In a pay-per-user model, healthcare organizations pay a fee for each user using the software instead of paying a hefty sum upfront for the software development. This tariff model can be a more cost-effective way to access specialized tools, particularly for smaller clinics or hospitals with fewer users. As the organization grows and adds more users, the cost increases proportionally, ensuring the scale of the expenses with the growth and revenue of the organization.

In addition to the pay-per-user model, tiered pricing is another standard tariff model. With tiered pricing, digital health platforms offer different levels of service or features at varying price points. This tiered pricing gives healthcare providers the flexibility to choose a package that suits their needs and budget and upgrade or downgrade as required.

Yet another notable model is the freemium model, where basic features of the software are offered free of charge, while advanced features or add-ons come at a price. This model can be particularly effective for organizations with tight budgets, as they can use the basic version until they're ready to invest in more advanced functionalities.

These models considerably reduce the cost of producing customized software by spreading the development cost over a large number of users while also providing a steady stream of income for the software providers. This convenient payment model makes digital health platforms more accessible and affordable for healthcare organizations.

3. Lower technical risk

Using Digital health platforms can significantly lower technical risks. They provide centralized, standardized systems that reduce the need for multiple disparate systems, often presenting compatibility and security risks. These health Platforms can have robust, up-to-date security measures and regular updates, reducing the risk of data breaches or loss. By adopting these platforms, organizations can delegate technical management to experts in the field, ensuring best practices and continuous monitoring. This way, healthcare providers can focus on patient care rather than IT management, reducing the risk of technical mishaps due to a lack of expertise.

The risk of failure for a new software product is high

Developing new software products can be risky, with high upfront costs, especially in the healthcare sector. However, by using a digital health platform, you're outsourcing a large chunk of the tech development, eliminating the need to build everything from scratch. These platforms already have established infrastructure and compliance systems, meaning you're paying for a service rather than investing heavily in R&D. This drastically reduces costs while minimizing the risk of technical glitches or non-compliance issues.Digital health platforms are designed with redundancy in mind. If a system fails, it can switch to a backup system, minimizing downtime. They also leverage cloud technology for data storage, which not only improves accessibility but also provides better data protection. Moreover, they have built-in data backup and recovery systems. In case of an unexpected event, such as a system failure, the platform can recover data, minimizing the potential damage.

Feature creep, bugs, and architectural challenges can extend timelines and budgets

When developing tech solutions like a digital health platform, "feature creep," unanticipated bugs, and architectural challenges can inflate timelines and budgets, making the anticipated product very costly.  Using digital health platforms improves operational efficiency that reduces overheads, while the platform's scalability can handle growing patient numbers without the need for proportional increases in resources or staff. Digital health platforms can also minimize costly errors or omissions in patient care. So, there is no issue with slow and problematic custom software development.

Another compromise with custom software is its limitation of not delivering what is desired. A healthcare company could face a major glitch with data integrity and interoperability or wherever software integration is required. But Digital health platforms significantly improve data integrity with automatic data entry and processing. Interoperability too is seamless with these platforms, which can drastically reduce errors associated with these functionalities. Digital health platforms also maintain audit trails, providing an accurate history of data modifications. This functionality is a crucial component in ensuring the veracity of health information. Coupled with the above, digital health platforms can interact with various other systems. This capacity lowers the risk of incompatibility issues arising from having multiple systems with varying standards.