12 Jul 2019

Digital in Health: How Can We Do Better?

In Australia, health is at the forefront of innovation in areas such as research and technology. Yet when it comes to engaging people in a digital setting, there’s something missing.

Digital marketing activities, websites and applications (essentially all aspects of the digital process) have the potential to improve patient experiences and health outcomes. They can also help to improve connectivity and service provision for healthcare providers.

Some digital initiatives show promise, such as My Health Record, which is a platform that allows users who opt-in to store their medical records securely online. This information can then be easily shared by medical professionals in order to improve patient health outcomes.

But despite Australia’s recent foray into digital in health, there’s so much more we can do. Hospitals, medical staff, digital providers, government, businesses and users all need to be a part of this conversation.


We need to look at the bigger picture

Improving digital in health doesn’t necessarily start with building digital products. We first need to rethink our approach.

Digital experts such as Tadashi can help guide health providers in taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. We’ve developed our services with a key focus on discovery and learning, so we don’t turn to digital solutions immediately, but first work out what problems need solving. This starts with a review of branding – how your organisation looks, speaks and is perceived by customers. After this, marketing and creative should be approached, with a view to engage patients in the right places at the right times.

An effective auditing process will allow you to review your digital assets, such as your content and design, as well as your systems and processes. Your digital consultant can assist you in conducting research, interviews and workshops to help drive this. Out of the auditing process a strategy can be developed. This outlines the problems you need to solve and what you need to do to meet both your organisation’s goals and your users’ needs.

Development of high quality content, as well as effective production processes and distribution plans, is the final element to consider before diving into digital product development. But before digital comes into it, you need to lay the right foundation, to figure out where the problems are and what decisions need to be made.


We need to recognise the potential

We all know about the potential of medical devices and technology to improve quality of living and healthcare outcomes. There are also many useful health applications that offer services such as booking appointments, automated reminders, tracking sleep and exercise, and managing pain. However, these innovative digital technologies often exist in isolation and fail to look at the broader picture of user needs.

It seems incredible that in a day and age where we can wear watches that track our heart rates and 3D-printed bandages with 5G wireless connectivity, we’re still waiting hours to see a GP, days to receive test results, and months to access specialist care. Yet digital innovations in health, such as websites and marketing activities, offer huge potential for us to create sophisticated online systems that talk to each other and work to solve complex problems.

With the potential of digital at our fingertips, it’s time that we take a step back and look at health holistically. Thankfully, the Australian Government has recognised the potential of digital in health. This is why it has set up the Australian Digital Health Agency and the aforementioned My Health Record. The Agency offers resources to assist patients and healthcare providers in driving positive health outcomes using digital solutions.

There are some clear benefits to adopting digital practices in health, which can’t be ignored, and will drive lasting change.


We need to celebrate the benefits

The benefits of improving digital experiences in the health space are vast. There is huge potential to create intuitive messaging and platforms that connect patients with their healthcare providers in a more positive way, for an overall improved customer experience.

Smarter online systems that engage people effectively can help boost patient education while allowing healthcare providers access to invaluable data. More specifically, there are some tangible benefits to digital in health

Reduced healthcare costs

Tadashi has worked with clients who have saved money by implementing digital systems that improve efficiencies and cut down on staff costs. And at a higher level, implementing digital solutions that provide health organisations with additional patient data can often provide tangible improvements to health outcomes. This includes things like disease prevention and better mental health management.

Improved patient experience

Previously, the only interaction a patient would have with their GP was when they were sitting across from them during a consultation. Now, the opportunity exists to interact digitally, via websites and online marketing channels. Patients can access their local GP through many digital touchpoints: on social media channels, by interacting with apps, and by receiving text messages and emails. Digital solutions in health create an ongoing dialogue between patient and provider, which can boost engagement and improve outcomes.

Increased connectivity

One of the greatest benefits of digitising the health space is the connected nature of digital products. Healthcare providers can link systems and securely share patient data in order to generate test results more quickly and determine outcomes effectively.

While some organisations have developed applications to meet patient needs, these digital platforms can be integrated with other online products to create a seamless experience across all channels.


Digital solutions allow healthcare providers to tailor experiences for different audiences. By enabling the collection of data and metrics, organisations can create effective messaging designed to engage different audience needs. Furthermore, by building accessibility practices into digital products, people of all ages and abilities can interact with the platforms.

By using digital platforms, we can improve how every age group interacts with healthcare, including children and the elderly.


We need to start somewhere

Health is not the only industry lacking in digital knowledge. Many industries are struggling to bridge the gap and genuinely connect with their audiences on digital platforms. In many cases, knowledge is a barrier to entry, but there are digital specialists like Tadashi who can help.

So where do you start in the digital space? Begin by looking into your audiences’ needs.

There are misconceptions in the health space that people don’t want digital products, or that only millennials are open to these solutions. Actually, a McKinsey Digital Patient Survey revealed that 75% of people expect to have a digital interaction – through websites, emails, applications and social media – when it comes to their health services. And this is across all age groups, not just young people. 70% of people over the age of 50 want to use digital health services. This is important to grasp, as more older people rely on the healthcare system than young people.

When starting out in digital, your offering doesn’t need to be as complex as you may think. In fact, research shows that starting small is most effective. A well-designed website is often the first step for success. Ensuring that it’s accessible and enables users to perform the tasks they need, like finding information and making bookings, is essential for driving engagement.

Starting small doesn’t mean applying minimal effort or understanding. It means getting the foundations right so that your digital solutions meet the needs of your patients and users. This is where Tadashi can help. We work with organisations across the health sector, guiding the digital process from the very beginning. We’re passionate about driving positive change in this industry and benefiting health providers, patients and society as a whole.


Get in touch to learn how we can help you kickstart your digital journey.

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