5 Big Digital Lessons From 2014 That Can Turbocharge Your Success In 2015

2015 is fast approaching and most people are focused on setting goals, assessing the year that was and making resolutions that will help them improve their personal and professional lives in the New Year. 

While this process is valuable, emphasizing the future can cause us to forget or undervalue lessons we learned in the past that — if applied — can significantly boost our knowledge, skills and success. 

Given this, I’ve decided to devote my last article of 2015 to re-communicating five lessons I offered during 2014 that people have told me they found particularly impactful, or have been shared widely. 

1. Become Comfortable With Data — It’s No Longer an Option: Back in January, I discussed how we’re in the midst of a health data gold rush. Events in 2014, including Apple’s push to partner with electronic medical records firm Epic and major hospitals, suggests that players are actively looking for ways to better analyze, improve and act on health data. It’s clear that understanding how data can be collected, presented and used to drive health is essential, not optional. 

2. Want Innovation? Be Sure You’re Incentivizing People Properly: In February, I talked about the role incentives (whether financial, emotional or social) can play in blunting and boosting innovation. If people aren’t given the proper time, space and support, innovation just won’t happen. 

3. Think Embedment, Not Engagement: In April, I introduced a concept called embedment, or the integration of digital tools, technologies and initiatives into the framework of people’s lives. In contrast, engagement is all about getting people to adopt — often new — digital health tools in the hopes they will gain significant traction. In 2014, we’ve seen firms like Walgreens engage in embedment strategies that cleverly place novel digital health tools within the context of people’s lives, whether they are at home, at the doctor’s office or clipping coupons. This “omni-digital” strategy has helped Walgreens reach and influence millions of people around the country using digital technologies in unique ways. Look for more firms to focus on embedment as a means to ensure digital technologies help improve health, medicine and wellbeing rather than get in the way. 

4. Don’t Ignore the World’s Most Powerful Health Technology: With all of the talk about wearables, sensors and other unique innovations, it’s easy to forget about the world’s most unexpectedly powerful technology: the Web (as I discussed in May). It’s a seamless, emotionally powerful connector that influences people’s health and wellness in many significant ways. 

5. Going Digital Is a Matter of Dollars and Cents, Not Just Preferences: We’re used to talking about why digital is important from the perspective of patient, physician and caregiver preferences. We need to go where our customers and stakeholders are leading us, correct? Yet, as I outlined in this August essay, patients are more than willing to select certain insurance plans, hospitals or physicians based on whether they provide digital health tools and technologies. It turns out that not going digital could have significant financial implications. Think carefully about what this means for you and your work. 

I’ve enjoyed sharing my knowledge and perspective with you during 2014. If you ever want to connect regarding any of the concepts and ideas I discuss in my Marketing:Health essays, click here to contact me via MediaPost (login or registration required). I respond to every contact request I receive. 

Happy holidays! Have a wonderful New Year.

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