What you'll learn

  • Understand how digital technologies can address critical pain points in health care
  • Learn how to think about applications of collecting and using data to inform health care, and the privacy risks and analytical pitfalls unique to health care data
  • Explore the opportunities and difficulties of enabling digital approaches, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, apps, and sensors
  • Navigate the systemic barriers and often conflicting needs of health care stakeholders in bringing digital technologies to market
  • Become adept at analyzing gaps in health care that can be closed with technology and data

Course description

Can a fitness tracker on your wrist guide your medical decision-making or help develop new drugs? 

Millions of data points are captured about your health every day, from the calories you burn during exercise and the time you spend watching TV to the tests taken at your doctor’s office. Digital technologies have transformed how we buy and listen to music and how we plan our travel. Can health care be next?

Health care is different from retail, banking, or travel. Digital transformation in health care needs people who are bilingual—fluent in the powerful, new digital tools that are emerging, but also in the culture and workflows of real-life medicine. Innovations in health care face unique challenges, such as data privacy laws and protections, established workflows, and disjointed payment systems. There’s no substitute for the patient-doctor relationship—that connection based on trust and empathy that lies at the heart of the sprawling health care system.

In Digital Health, you’ll explore the opportunities and difficulties facing widespread adoption of digital health care data and technologies and explore innovative frameworks to think strategically about becoming data stewards and implementing digital transformation in your organization. You’ll examine the dimensions of these unique challenges to health care, such as navigating stakeholder needs, establishing data security best practices, demonstrating improved outcomes, and developing sustainable business models.

Throughout the course, you’ll take part in a fictional hackathon, working alongside other learners to determine which digital tools to invest in. Then, with the help of real-world case studies and protagonists, you become the judge and evaluate how well these companies fit the needs of patients, physicians, payers, and, ultimately, future health care ecosystems. In doing so, you’ll consider the impact digital tools have on patients, providers, and payers to understand how data tracking and digital technologies can improve patient care, enhance communications between doctors and patients, increase employee benefits and happiness, and share data to create health trends and solutions.

Can you transform health care with the touch of a mouse?

The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will have access to claim their credits through the Harvard Medical School’s continuing education platform.


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