Why Are Health Care Organizations Slow To Adopt Patient-Facing Digital Technologies?

Digital technologies are profoundly altering the way industries deliver services to consumers. Ride-sharing companies have upended traditional taxis, online shopping has displaced many brick-and-mortar stores, and smartphones enable people to manage their own digital transactions effortlessly. Customers have rapid access to services, convenient payment options, and a previously unimaginable range of service choices. The same cannot be said of health care. Choosing doctors, requesting appointments, and obtaining medical advice often requires multiple phone calls and in-person visits. Prices are all but invisible, bills are often unintelligible, and procuring medical records can be an impossible task.

The appetite for new digital technologies in health care is increasing; global venture capital investment in health care has surged, with $9.5 billion invested in 2018. However, most of the venture capital flows to innovations that reside outside of health care delivery. The three top categories of investment are consumer health information, digital gym equipment, and health care consumer engagement. This translates to limited gains in the convenience of care for patients.

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