The American Hospital Association (AHA) and AVIA have conducted a survey of hospitals and health systems executives to understand their views on digital technology in healthcare. Hospitals and healthcare providers are facing increasing demands for their services along with increasing uncertainty about the funding sources that will support these efforts. Digital health technology can help make systems more efficient and productive. The benefits range from better information exchange among different parties in the system, faster and more accurate diagnosis, and better patient tracking. These could combine to yield better outcomes at lower cost.

The results revealed that more than 9 out of 10 respondents “understand the value of digital innovation.” In addition, 3 out of 4 of them believe that digital health innovations will be “essential” if they are to meet their long-term goals and maintain a competitive advantage in their field. The top priority is the incorporation of patient-generated data into their services, especially to help manage the health of patients with chronic conditions who represent higher costs than average patients. However, more than half of the respondents indicated that they are holding off on digital health innovation because they lack the funds to support those efforts. And 3 out of 5 have not seen sufficient return on investment (ROI) from previous digital health innovation projects.

The bottom line is that these organizations are eager to reap the benefits and savings that digital health technology has to offer, yet barriers remain to implementation. They need to see more successful cases of significant ROI results, and they need to have more confidence in their funding sources so that they can undertake innovative programs. Digital health technology has been demonstrated to save money and improve outcomes; the challenge is to help organizations manage the risk of adopting these new approaches.