Digital Health Implementation Playbook Step 1: Identifying a Need


Ground your digital health implementation in a true need. Start by identifying concrete areas where you want to see your organization improve. Brainstorm a list of your organization’s challenges—where you lose efficiency, where your staff encounter pain points, or where patients’ health or satisfaction suffers.

The focus on need will help you avoid the temptation to experiment with new technologies that ultimately won’t result in tangible improvements to the efficacy of your organization or the health and satisfaction of your patients. Before adopting any new digital health solution, first identify what areas your organization needs to address or improve, envision the outcome you hope to achieve, and then look for a technology that is capable of delivering that solution.

Goals to accomplish

  • Solicit feedback from staff to identify the biggest pain points and opportunities that exist in your organization
  • Identify areas of opportunity from patients via satisfaction and/or experience survey responses
  • Prioritize your list of pain points and opportunities based on severity of need and fit with the strategic goals of the organization
  • Select a problem that, if solved, would have the greatest value to your entire organization and patients
  • Envision the expected outcome(s) if that problem were addressed
  • Research digital health solutions capable of delivering the desired outcome

Why identifying a need is important

Prioritize resources by centering your initiative around a true organizational need. This practice also:

  • Brings purpose and context to the project
  • Helps crystalize buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Incites long-term stability for the project

Best practice

Prioritize opportunities identified by frontline staff that align with your organization’s strategic goals. This ensures time and money invested into any new implementation will deliver maximum value throughout the entire organization.

Avoiding a misstep

Be wary of flashy new technology that promise to make huge improvements.The newest technology can be very compelling. To avoid wasting time solving a problem that you don’t really have, take the time to do your due diligence and make sure it is a good fit for your needs.

Large practice callout

Prioritization can be especially difficult for large organizations. It is difficult when key decision-makers may not regularly interact with front-line staff. Seek feedback from care teams to avoid misalignment between the organization’s strategic priorities and the day-to-day needs of staff and patients.

Quick tip

Missing media.

Practice spotlight

Engage end users to generate buy-in. "Many health organizations want to implement meaningful improvements but struggle to prioritize which initiatives to pursue first. In order to better align strategic and implementation goals, some organizations hold annual staff hackathons, competitions, or acceleration programs.

"These organizations encourage their staff to submit day-to-day pain points, challenges, or opportunities. Administrators and executives evaluate these submissions to determine which areas cause the most pain, and therefore, are most in need of a solution. By sourcing priorities from the bottom up, these organizations tend to better understand their needs and foster more engagement among their staff. Most importantly, these organizations make more informed decisions about which initiatives to prioritize--based on the real needs of their staff and patients.

—Nick Dougherty, Managing Director, MassChallenge HealthTech



Playbook: Step 1-Idea Form

Playbook: Step 1-Idea Worksheet

Now that you have completed Step 1 in the AMA Digital Health Implementation Playbook, continue with Step 2: Forming the Team. You can also visit the playbook main page to review all 12 steps.

AMA Digital Health Implementation Playbook

Download the Playbook to review all 12 steps to implement and scale remote patient monitoring in practice.