Going “Digital” Isn’t Enough: Outcomes Must Drive Digital Health Strategy


By Dan Shields
Vice President,
Ochsner Connected Health

Diabetes and Hypertension have long had drastic impact on health and driven cost. Delayed care associated with the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. At the same time, provider shortages and healthcare economics are causing drastic access to care issues, putting increased strain on providers. A recent study has shown that an average primary care provider would need 26.7 hours PER DAY to provide quality levels of care to an average patient panel. Something has to give. This, combined with national average of compliance with recommended care for chronic conditions shows that  the traditional primary care clinic may not be the ideal setting to manage these conditions.

As a result, there has been rapid expansion of digital health companies into the medical industry over these past few years. However, in the attempt to “disrupt” how we care for members, nearly half of all digital health companies are not driving true financial or clinical outcomes.

Last year, the JMIR published a study regarding the “clinical robustness” of 224 digital health companies. The study concluded that, while the growth of digital healthcare companies is evident, clinical measures of their impact on members are lacking.

The review revealed that 44% of digital health companies scored a “0” in clinical robustness, meaning they have little to no clinical proof that their program is working.

The study examined companies’ public claims data on clinical, economic, and engagement outcomes. These included such claims as a reduction in symptoms or condition, return on investment for the patient, and number of active users.

The findings demonstrated that many of these companies did not share outcomes publicly. Though the authors stated this may have to do with privacy, they conceded that it “more likely represented a lack of meaningful analyses of any impact since this data could be used as a competitive differentiator if shared publicly.”

In this crowded landscape, Ochsner Digital Medicine boasts the credibility of being backed by Ochsner Health, an 80+-year-old, innovative, top-tier health system. Our methods are tested slowly and intentionally to deliver the best care to our patients.

Digital Medicine was a service Ochsner Health built internally by physicians, where it was reviewed and heavily vetted. The program allows members to remotely manage hypertension and Type 2 diabetes between regular visits with their provider. Using digital devices, members submit readings and work with their personalized Digital Medicine care team: a clinician (PharmD or APP) who manages medications and a health coach who supports healthy lifestyle modifications. Program-specific data appears in the member’s medical record, allowing for true remote condition management. The results for our initial patient population were so efficacious, we decided to bring the program to the market. The solution has now expanded to all 50 states, serving members, health plans and employers.

Ochsner Digital Medicine knows it is only as good as its results and participates in clinical validation measures as part of its growth strategy. This is how the program can tout that 79% of hypertension and 81% of Type 2 diabetes members achieved their blood pressure and A1C goals, respectively, six months post-enrollment in Digital Medicine.

Ochsner Digital Medicine is committed to continuing to produce good results for our members. To learn more about our clinically proven program, click here or email

*Reference: Journal of Medical Internet Research – Assessing the Clinical Robustness of Digital Health Startups: Cross-sectional Observational Analysis (

About Ochsner

Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. With more than 80 years of service, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and kidney transplants, and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. Its cutting-edge Connected Health Digital Medicine program cares for patients beyond its walls by applying technology and data to create customized, patient-centered digital health solutions for chronic condition management. This program is a true clinical model that includes medication management by licensed clinicians. It enables members to improve their health and patient experience while reducing costs. Ochsner Digital Medicine is live in all 50 states, serving members, health plans, and employers nationally. Learn more at

Read the Ochsner Health validation report HERE.