Ignored by many, mastered by few: The overlooked key factor to success in digital health

Often, when I speak with clients about their positioning or go to market strategy, the conversation naturally glides into the product/service it’s features and an effort to tease out the key factors for success in the digital health industry. Here’s what I tell them about their product or service: It’s not just about the product being valuable or working properly. Sure, that’s the entry ticket. But too often, a critical piece of the puzzle is left out. Understanding EVERY end user in healthcare is crucial. We’re talking about payers, providers, and patients here. Miss one, and your strategy could be in jeopardy.

Consider this:

  • A health app is designed with the patient in mind, making it easy for them to adopt. Great! But what if it doesn’t mesh with clinicians’ workflows?
  • Or, it fits perfectly into a clinical setting, but patients find it cumbersome. Oops, you probably lost them.

Here’s the deal:

  • Providers and patients are the main end users in healthcare tech. If you’re not designing and implementing with both in mind, you’re missing half the picture.

The winning formula:

● Seamless integration into clinical workflows
● AND an effortless patient user experience

Balance is key. Innovation is essential. But empathy and understanding of all users? That’s your golden ticket.



Decoding the Path to Success in the Digital Health Industry

With the rapid evolution of digital health innovations, the question looms large: what are the key factors that determine success in this complex and burgeoning industry? As someone deeply entrenched in the digital healthcare space, helping clients navigate go-to-market strategies and positioning, I’ve witnessed firsthand the critical elements that can make or break a health tech venture. Let’s dive into the nuances of what it takes to not only enter the digital health market but to truly thrive within it.


The Foundation: A Valuable, Working Product

No amount of marketing savvy or strategic positioning can compensate for a product that fails to deliver on its promise. In the realm of digital health, the stakes are particularly high – we’re dealing with people’s well-being, after all. A product must not only be innovative but also reliable, effective, and safe. This is the baseline, the non-negotiable entry point for any player in the digital healthcare industry. But as we’ll explore, it’s just the beginning of the journey toward success.


Understanding Every End User

One of the most common oversights in digital health is a myopic focus on a single stakeholder group, be it patients, providers, or payers. Yet, success hinges on a comprehensive understanding of all end users involved. In healthcare, we often see products tailored beautifully for patient engagement with slick interfaces and user-friendly features. However, if these same products neglect the needs of clinicians and fail to integrate into existing clinical workflows, adoption will stumble. Conversely, a product perfectly suited for healthcare providers that creates friction for patients will similarly falter. The key is to strike a balance – designing and implementing a solution that addresses the intricate needs of both patients and providers.


Seamless Integration into Clinical Workflows

For healthcare technology to be embraced, it must not only be user-friendly but also fit seamlessly into the busy and complex environment of clinical operations. This means understanding the day-to-day realities of healthcare providers and ensuring that the technology enhances, rather than impedes, their workflows. From electronic health record (EHR) integration to ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations, the product must be a natural extension of the clinical ecosystem. This attention to detail in design and implementation can be the difference between a digital health tool that is merely present and one that is indispensable.



The digital health industry demands a multifaceted approach to success. Starting with a solid, effective product is essential, but the real magic happens when innovators deeply understand and cater to the needs of all stakeholders. By meticulously balancing the user experience of patients with the operational realities of providers, digital health solutions can not only gain entry but also achieve enduring success in this exciting and impactful field.


For more content like this, check out our Insights Page and check out The Better Outcomes Show. Or if you want to humanize healthcare through your business or organization, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your company’s positioning strategy and brainstorm a business development plan here. Check out Rafi’s latest book, Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, on Amazon!

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. His career trajectory includes 12+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes.

Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies like technology startups, platforms, SaaS companies & innovative healthcare organizations develop effective positioning strategy and business development plans through his consulting work. He also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience & healthcare innovation. In addition, Rafi also owns and operates ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic treating patients with musculoskeletal pain.

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Medical Professionals RafiIf you are an innovative healthcare company looking to humanize healthcare through direct service delivery, technology, a device, or software, then reach out. We'd love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help.

What we can help you do:

✅ Clarify your product, service, or organization's positioning strategy...

✅ Identify what is most valuable and least valuable to your targeted healthcare stakeholder...

✅ Develop a Market Penetration Roadmap to align your company's value proposition with your targeted healthcare stakeholder to develop a bottom up marketing strategy...

We help you not only craft your healthcare positioning strategy, we help you identify your highest value offer for your target audience, align that value with your market, and help you develop a business development system that leverages insights from market data & industry-specific resources to enable your business development team to effectively drive business for your organization.

I also speak and train at healthcare conferences, events, and organizations on topics related to technology-enabled care, healthcare innovation, healthcare positioning, and humanizing the healthcare experience.


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