Article | September 4, 2020
A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is a model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction. For healthcare providers, digital twins provide an abstraction of the healthcare ecosystem’s component characteristics and behaviors. These are used in combination with other real-time health system (RTHS) capabilities to provide real-time monitoring, process simulation for efficiency improvements, population health and long-term, cross-functional statistical analyses.
Digital twins have the potential to transform and accelerate decision making, reduce clinical risk, improve operational efficiencies and lower cost of care, resulting in better competitive advantage for HDOs. However, digital twins will only be as valuable as the quality of the data utilized to create them. The digital twin of a real-world entity is a method to create relevance for descriptive data about its modeled entity. How that digital twin is built and used can lead to better-informed care pathways and organizational decisions, but it can also lead clinicians and executives down a path of frustration if they get the source data wrong. The underlying systems that gather and process data are key to the success for digital twin creation. Get those systems right and digital twins can accelerate care delivery and operational efficiencies.
Twins in Healthcare Delivery
The fact is that HDOs have been using digital twins for years. Although rudimentary in function, digital representations of patients, workflow processes and hospital operations have already been applied by caregivers and administrators across the HDO. For example, a physician uses a digital medical record to develop a treatment plan for a patient. The information in the medical record (a rudimentary digital twin) along with the physician’s experience, training and education combine to provide a diagnostic or treatment plan. Any gaps in information must be compensated through additional data gathering, trial-and-error treatments, intuitive leaps informed through experience or simply guessing. The CIO’s task now is to remove as many of those gaps as possible using available technology to give the physician the greatest opportunity to return their patients to wellness in the most efficient possible manner.
Today, one way to close those gaps is to create the technology-based mechanisms to collect accurate data for the various decision contexts within the HDO. These contexts are numerous and include decisioning perspectives for every functional unit within the enterprise. The more accurate the data collected on a specific topic, the higher the value of the downstream digital twin to each decision maker (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Digital Twins Are Only as Good as Their Data Source
HDO CIOs and other leaders that base decisions on poor-quality digital twins increase organizational risk and potential patient care risk. Alternatively, high-quality digital twins will accelerate digital business and patient care effectiveness by providing decision makers the best information in the correct context, in the right moment and at the right place — hallmarks of the RTHS.
Benefits and Uses
Digital Twin Types in Healthcare Delivery
Current practices for digital twins take two basic forms: discrete digital twins and composite digital twins. Discrete digital twins are the type that most people think about when approaching the topic. These digital twins are one-dimensional, created from a single set or source of data. An MRI study of a lung, for example, is used to create a digital representation of a patient that can be used by trained analytics processes to detect the subtle image variations that indicate a cancerous tumor. The model of the patient’s lung is a discrete digital twin. There are numerous other examples of discrete digital twins across healthcare delivery, each example tied to data collection technologies for specific clinical diagnostic purposes. Some of these data sources include vitals monitors, imaging technologies for specific conditions, sensors for electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG). All these technologies deliver discrete data describing one (or very few) aspects of a patient’s condition.
Situational awareness is at the heart of HDO digital twins. They are the culmination of information gathered from IoT and other sources to create an informed, accurate digital model of the real-world healthcare organization. Situational awareness is the engine behind various “hospital of the future,” “digital hospital” and “smart patient room” initiatives. It is at the core of the RTHS.
Digital twins, when applied through the RTHS, positively impact these organizational areas (with associated technology examples — the technologies all use one or more types of digital twins to fulfill their capability):
Clinical communication and collaboration
Next-generation nurse call
Alarms and notifications
Integrated patient room
Digital Twin Usability
Digital twin risk is tied directly to usability. Digital twin usability is another way of looking at the issue created by poor data quality or low data point counts used to create the twins. Decision making is a process that is reliant on inputs from relevant information sources combined with education, experience, risk assessment, defined requirements, criteria and opportunities to reach a plausible conclusion. There is a boundary or threshold that must be reached for each of these inputs before a person or system can derive a decision. When digital twins are used for one or many of these sources, the ability to cross these decision thresholds to create reasonable and actionable conclusions is tied to the accuracy of the twins (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Digital Twin Usability Thresholds
For example, the amount of information about a patient room required to decide if the space is too hot or cold is low (due to a single temperature reading from a wall-mounted thermostat). In addition, the accuracy or quality of that data can be low (that is, a few degrees off) and still be effective for deciding to raise or lower the room temperature. To decide if the chiller on the roof of that patient wing needs to be replaced, the decision maker needs much more information. That data may represent all thermostat readings in the wing over a long period of time with some level of verification on temperature accuracy. The data may also include energy load information over the same period consumed by the associated chiller.
If viewed in terms of a digital twin, the complexity level and accuracy level of the source data must pass an accuracy threshold that allows users to form accurate decisions. There are multiple thresholds for each digital twin — based on twin quality — whether that twin is a patient, a revenue cycle workflow or hospital wing. These thresholds create a limit of decision impact; the lower the twin quality the less important the available decision for the real-world entity the twin represents.
Trusting Digital Twins for HDOs
The concept of a limit of detail required to make certain decisions raises certain questions. First, “how does a decision maker know they have enough detail in their digital twin to take action based on what the model is describing about its real-world counterpart?” The answer lies in measurement and monitoring of specific aspects of a digital twin, whether it be a discrete twin, composite twin or organization twin.
Users must understand the inputs required for decisions and where twins will provide one or more of the components of that input. They need to examine the required decision criteria in order to reach the appropriate level of expected outcome from the decision itself. These feed into the measurements that users will have to monitor for each twin. These criteria will be unique to each twin. Composite twins will have unique measurements that may be independent from the underlying discrete twin measurement.
The monitoring of these key twin characteristics must be as current as the target twin’s data flow or update process. Digital twins that are updated once can have a single measurement to gauge its appropriateness for decisioning. A twin that is updated every second based on event stream data must be measured continuously.
This trap is the same for all digital twins regardless of context. The difference is in the potential impact. A facilities decision that leads to cooler-than-desired temperatures in the hallways pales in comparison to a faulty clinical diagnosis that leads to unnecessary testing or negative patient outcomes.
All it takes is a single instance of a digital twin used beyond its means with negative results for trust to disappear — erasing the significant investments in time and effort it took to create the twin. That is why it is imperative that twins be considered a technology product that requires constant process improvement. From the IoT edge where data is collected to the data ingestion and analytics processes that consume and mold the data to the digital twin creation routines, all must be under continuous pressure for improvement.
Include a Concise Digital Twin Vision Within the HDO Digital Transformation Strategy
Digital twins are one of the foundational constructs supporting digital transformation efforts by HDO CIOs. They are digital representations of the real-world entities targeted by organizations that benefit from the advances and efficiencies technologies bring to healthcare delivery. Those technology advances and efficiencies will only be delivered successfully if the underlying data and associated digital twins have the appropriate level of precision to sustain the transformation initiatives.
To ensure this attention to digital twin worthiness, it is imperative that HDO CIOs include a digital twin vision as part of their organization’s digital transformation strategy. Binding the two within the strategy will reinforce the important role digital twins play in achieving the desired outcomes with all participating stakeholders.
Building new capabilities — APIs, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies enable the connections and automation that the platform provides.
Leveraging existing systems — Legacy systems that an HDO already owns can be adapted and connected to form part of its digital platform.
Applying the platform to the industry — Digital platforms must support specific use cases, and those use cases will reflect the needs of patients, employees and other consumers.
Create a Digital Twin Pilot Program
Like other advanced technology ideas, a digital twin program is best started as a simple project that can act as a starting point for maturity over time. Begin this by selecting a simple model of a patient, a department or other entity tied to a specific desired business or clinical outcome. The goal is to understand the challenges your organization will face when implementing digital twins.
The target for the digital twin should be discrete and easily managed. For example, a digital twin of a blood bank storage facility is a contained entity with a limited number of measurement points, such as temperature, humidity and door activity. The digital twin could be used to simulate the impact of door open time on temperature and humidity within the storage facility. The idea is to pick a project that allows your team to concentrate on data collection and twin creation processes rather than get tied up in specific details of the modeled object.
Begin by analyzing the underlying source data required to compose the digital twin, with the understanding that the usability of the twins is directly correlated to its data’s quality. Understand the full data pathway from the IoT devices through to where that data is stored. Think through the data collection type needed for the twin, is discrete data or real-time data required? How much data is needed to form the twin accurately? How accurate is the data generated by the IoT devices?
Create a simulation environment to exercise the digital twin through its paces against known operational variables. The twin’s value is tied to how the underlying data represents the response of the modeled entity against external input. Keep this simple to start with — concentrate on the IT mechanisms that create and execute the twin and the simulation environment.
Monitor and measure the performance of the digital twin. Use the virtuous cycle to create a constant improvement process for the sample twin. Experience gained through this simple project will create many lessons learned and best practices to follow for complex digital twins that will follow.
Article | February 4, 2021
It is not an easy task to engage decision-makers in hospitals, insurance providers, health systems, and private practices. These high-powered directors, managers, and executives are busier than ever. This makes the process of health tech marketing difficult. Apart from overwhelming job responsibilities, these healthcare professionals are also inundated with ads, emails, and phone calls. So rather than sending them messages randomly, it is important to help your prospects when they are free from their daily disruptions and have time.
Inbound marketing, a new form of marketing, lays out various effective healthcare marketing techniques, tricks, or tactics. These health tech marketing techniques or methodologies are helpful in the three stages of your health tech client journey:
Awareness Stage: This is the stage where they do not know they have a problem, but you make them aware of the fact that they have a problem.
Consideration Stage: In this stage, they are aware that they have a problem and consider finding a solution from you or your competitor.
Decision Stage: This is the final stage, where prospects make a decision.
Here are some effective health tech marketing techniques to engage new health tech marketing prospects online all through these stages.
Offer Entertaining and Informative Blog Content
Content is king. Roper Public Affairs, in their research report, say that around 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer to gather information from articles and blogs over ads. According to the research done by HubSpot, companies that publish blogs frequently get 4.5x more leads. Engage your health tech prospects with regular content that can address their interests and the problems they face.
However, it is a mistake to focus only on your health tech company’s benefits, features, or sales pitches in your blogs. This may make your prospects think you are just after their money. One of the best health tech marketing techniques to engage your prospects online is to provide answers to the challenges they face.
You can even ask and encourage your clients to contribute success stories or guest posts. These posts will have more value and the chances of them being shared are high. It is also better to create a strategy to make sure the health tech marketing content you make is valuable and relevant to your potential clients.
Encourage Social Media Feedback and Blog Comments
Providing great and prospect oriented health tech marketing content is just the beginning. You can solicit reactions from your audience. Asking questions at the end of blogs and social media health tech messages is a great way to collect reactions from the audience. It is good to thank them for responding when they leave a comment. Also, give them a comprehensive answer.
This will help build your credibility and make the clients come back. Sometimes, you may get spam comments, which are not connected to your post. Weed them out to make all comments relevant to the post. This health tech marketing technique will make your potential clients stay engaged in what you post online.
Host Google Hangouts or Webinars
People love being visually engaged. So, webinars or Google Hangouts are powerful tools that allow real-time interaction with your customers. This helps you to establish a personal connection with your potential clients through video or audio. Various visual aspects, including slides, graphics, and live videos, make it easier for you to share your content with customers.
Being an interactive health tech marketing technique, at the end of webinar sessions or Google hangout, you can have a Q and A session to clarify any questions from the clients. Compared to merely writing blog posts and articles, this, as a two-way dialogue, and will help you a lot in building a strong relationship with your clients.
Create a Group or Community
One of the best health tech marketing techniques to engage new customers is to interact in online forums and communities. Your buyers can get added to your members-only group automatically and then these members can socialize with each other and discuss healthcare technology.
These forums can be used to share content that is not available to the public. To the members, you can also offer various discounts and special pricing. Your customers, being part of such a group, will feel special and increase the possibility of a repeat purchase.
Co-Create with Existing Customers
If you are planning to write an e-book, improve your website, or launch a new product, involve your existing customers by getting suggestions from them. For fostering loyalty, depending on the situation, it is very effective to make your customers involved in major decision-making processes. They will feel proud that they participated, at the end of the process.
This health tech marketing technique may even allow you to hold a contest to select an idea from your customers for your next design and offer rewards for the one which is selected. Rewards can be a special mention on your website, a discount, or a freebie.
Another great health-tech marketing technique to build stronger relationships with your customers is to celebrate milestones with them. Any achievement, small or big, can be a milestone. Even, achieving an award for attaining a certain number of followers can be a milestone. Sharing such moments of success with your customers and social media followers may make them feel like they are part of your business and success.
It is also a good idea to give them a discount offer. Also, recognizing the success of your clients and featuring them will establish a good relationship with customers.
Monitor Social Media
The best place to engage your clients in conversations about your products and industry is social media. Selecting a topic that is trending in your industry may be a hot cake for you to have the conversation on your social media platforms. Tracking trending topics related to your industry will always give you an insight for your next blog post and social media posts.
By sharing, liking, and providing answers you can also take part in conversations. This will make you an authority and customers will feel good about your credibility. As a health tech marketing technique, monitoring social media will make you gain the trust of the customers and build your brand gradually but successfully.
Build a List of Leads and Nurture them
Email marketing, as a health tech marketing technique, is a very effective strategy to nurture B2B customer relationships. According to HubSpot, for business communication, 86% of people prefer emails. You will be in the minds of potential customers through your value-packed and attractive emails. They will remember you when they identify a requirement.
Through your emails, you can update and educate your potential customers about relevant topics and trends related to the health tech industry. A newsletter in a week will be fair enough to keep them engaged and updated about your brand and industry.
The key to generating more qualified leads and increasing your brand recognition is engaging new prospects tough new and innovative health tech marketing techniques. This will make your sales team’s job easier; they can convert these leads into customers. The above-listed health tech marketing techniques to engage with your prospects can be effectively used with your well-crafted Inbound marketing strategy.
Doing all of these alone can be very challenging. We, at Media7, partner with healthcare technology companies and healthcare tech marketers to offer support, strategy, and extending help to implement these activities. Through the collaboration, we help health tech companies to attract more visitors to their websites, generate leads, convert, and make them your happy customers. For more details of our services, visit our website: https://media7.com/
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a health tech marketing strategy?
Health tech marketing strategy is a part of an inbound marketing process for marketing healthcare tech products. It uses resources that can trace various opportunities through lead generation and branding, and overcome threats of healthcare businesses, which is highly competitive.
What is the best health tech marketing technique?
The best health tech marketing technique is to generate leads through various content forms. Health tech Content marketing helps create awareness about the product and attract clients to it. Different forms of content can include blogs, articles, press releases, newsletters, and much more.
Where to start when creating your healthcare marketing strategy
The best way to start when creating your healthcare marketing strategy is to set your goals. This is because the success of your healthcare marketing strategy depends upon the goal you set for yourself when you start the business and the marketing for it.
Article | March 10, 2020
Organizations regulated by the Healthcare Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) must take special care to preserve valuable forensic artifacts at the outset of a ransomware or other cybersecurity event. The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule presumes a cybersecurity incident has resulted in unauthorized access to unsecured protected health information and the burden shifts to the organization to show a low probability of the compromise of the health information it maintains. Guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, the federal entity charged with enforcement of HIPAA, provides that the encryption of protected health information by ransomware per se constitutes an unauthorized disclosure of protected health information triggering the Breach Notification Rule. Consequently, the preservation of forensic evidence capable of disproving the unauthorized access or acquisition of protected health information is paramount and should be undertaken at the outset of the response to any cybersecurity incident, especially ransomware. Breach notification is extremely costly in time, money, and goodwill. Any time and money lost during the operational downtime required to preserve forensic evidence in order to rule out access to protected health information is significantly lower than the costs of notification.
Article | February 27, 2020
One off implementation services often take additional time to build, are more brittle and susceptible to failure, are less performant, and can impede realizing full value from your ERP investment. Productized integration means that there is ongoing coordination of the ERP application, the interface design, and the EHR, and that the interfaces are optimized for performance and tested prior to release. Productized integration delivers value faster and more reliably than one off implementations. For example, Infor Clinical Bridge is a product and subject to the exacting product design and testing process required for product release.