graphic representing digital health innovation (692 x 692)

Earlier this month, I attended CES, a massive tech conference held in Las Vegas each year. As digital health has increased in prominence, CES has featured numerous wearables, devices and other solutions designed to improve health, wellness, and medicine.

Yet, away from the excitement of CES, many questions persist about the state of digital health. One of the most important is: Are hospitals, government agencies and other organizations prepared to understand and utilize digital health solutions effectively?

Some studies suggest the answer is no. According to a 2015 survey released by Validic, 59% of respondents said they were either behind schedule with their digital health strategy or didn’t have one in place. And, in the area of precision medicine, which has been a major focus of the U.S. government, a study published in January 2016 suggests that many healthcare organizations are not prepared for this emerging field and won’t be for at least five years.

There is clearly a difference between the excitement surrounding digital health and health organizations’ ability to execute. What can be done to close this gap?

Fard Johnmar, a 10-year digital health industry veteran, futurist and strategist, believes part of the answer lies in gathering and sharing data about the key factors that are either accelerating or blunting digital innovation.

This is why Fard launched the State of Digital Health Innovation 2016 research initiative late last year. Recently, Fard fielded some of my questions about the study, what it is designed to achieve and more. His answers appear below.


What makes this digital health study different?

Before launching this research project, I spent a lot of time looking closely at previously published digital health industry research. I quickly came to recognize that we need more data about not only how organizations and key health industry sectors are progressing in digital health, but why.

The why questions are particularly important because a lot goes into making digital innovations work—at startups and organizations. For example, if leadership talks about the importance of innovation, but does not allocate the appropriate staff and financial resources required to make it work, that’s a clear sign that innovation will be very difficult to achieve at that organization.

This study is designed to provide—for the first time—data focusing on these critical why questions. My goal is to provide data and insights that will enable people to take immediate action to address innovation barriers and much more.


Who is participating in this research & why should people take part?

The study is focused on gathering data from two groups. The first is organizations (government, hospitals, multinationals, technology firms with divisions focusing on digital health, etc.). The second is partners (i.e., startups, agencies and others). People who have knowledge about how much organizations are spending, the level of leadership support for these innovations, etc. are ideal for this study.

I recognize that not everyone has access to this type of information. However, gathering data from people in the know about these critical issues will shed immense light on just what is fueling—or blocking—digital health innovation globally.


How will the results be shared?

One of the really unique things about this study is that everyone who participates in this research receives immediate access to their individual survey results—in a very actionable format. Their survey responses are used to determine their organizations’ (or industry sub-sector’s) position on a three-stage digital health maturity model Fard developed. It’s called the Digital Health Innovation Integration Curve and people are finding it helpful in terms of quickly identifying strengths, and weaknesses in their digital health innovation efforts.

Everyone taking the online survey immediately receives a 7+ page innovation report that quantifies their perceptions of digital health maturity (or how their organization is doing) and much more.

After the study closes in mid-February, we’ll release a report with an overview of the research results, recommendations for how we can make progress and much more.


Where can people take part?

People can take part in the study by visiting


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