ike many forms of technology, personalized digital health interventions can be powerful tools for helping people improve their quality of life through self-care. However, to be truly effective, these tools must be designed with the unique needs and experiences of individual users in mind.

According to the World Health Organization, “self-care recognizes individuals as active agents in managing their own healthcare.” Thus, digital tools that aim to promote self-care must provide individualized solutions that empower people to understand and take charge of their own health journeys.

Read on to learn more about how to empower self-care management through personalized digital health solutions.

Providing Access to Information

Throughout human history, people have created tools — technology — to make our lives easier and enhance work performance in everything from transportation to construction.

“These tools shape our history and relationships, but they also give us something even more precious: time,” says Caroline Nieto, Chief Product Officer at Significo. “And within that time, we can grow, learn, and develop new things.”

Now, in the digital age, technology gives us access to more information than ever before — so much that it can be hard to sift through it all for the exact information one needs.

In the context of healthcare, this means it can be overwhelming — sometimes even impossible — to find trustworthy information about managing one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

Nieto believes personalized digital health interventions like Significo’s tool, Recco, have a great opportunity to address this need by compiling relevant health information and advice in one place so it’s easier for more people to access and understand. This, in turn, empowers people to make use of that information for the benefit of their own health.

Implementing Personalized Digital Health Interventions

Richard Joseph, CEO and Founder of Hol1st1c — a mental health research startup — says the key to successfully implementing personalized digital interventions is to really understand the person those tools are intended to help before attempting to design a solution.

“Too often, people look at the aggregate,” he explains. “They look at big data, and they refer to everybody as the average. Then they start to design for the average. But no one person is the average — everybody’s unique.”

Instead of offering a blanket solution for everyone, personalized tools should account for users’ individual needs and preferences and provide unique solutions to their problems.

Social media websites and search engines often do this very well. These tools learn from the user’s behavior and quickly tailor search results and suggested content accordingly.

In the same way, personalized digital health interventions can apply information gained from the user to provide better and more useful information over time, thereby helping users better understand their own health needs as well as the solutions that are available to them.

Choosing the Right Development Team

While digital tools can be useful for personalized healthcare, Joseph cautions that they can also be part of the problem, especially if they don’t take individual needs into account. If a tool doesn’t add value to the user’s life, it’s not worth the exchange of providing their personal information to use it.

This is why Nieto says it’s crucial to choose the right team of people to develop personalized digital health interventions.

“What we create within Recco’s code is a reflection of the people who are working on it,” she says. “So it’s important to us that everyone who works on the product shares the same vision and understanding of how we see people — that we want, from the bottom of our hearts, to make healthcare human again.”

With the right people dedicated to understanding the end user and their unique challenges and needs, digital healthcare solutions can truly make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Solving Real-World Problems in the Digital Space

Speaking generally, Joseph places personalized digital health interventions in two broad categories:

  • Digitalization: Taking a task or experience that exists in the real world and moving it to the digital sector. An example of this is facilitating face-to-face conversation digitally through video calls.
  • Digital innovation: Using data and opportunities that are captured from the process of digitization to create a new benefit that didn’t previously exist in the real world.

The problem with the former, Joseph explains, is that often, it doesn’t solve problems — it simply moves them onto a digital platform. Effective digital solutions, then, should take advantage of technology’s benefits not only to accomplish real-world tasks, but also to solve real-world problems in new and better ways.

“If you’re trying to help people through digital technology, you’ve got to carefully consider what you’re actually doing and if it’s really a help,” he says.

Without proper research, testing, and understanding of the problems you’re trying to solve, you risk creating an overly simplistic solution that appears to help on the surface, but in actuality doesn’t address the root issue creating the problem in the first place.

Empowering the Individual

Personalized digital health interventions can be extremely useful tools for empowering individuals to take charge of their own unique health journeys. However, this is only possible when those solutions are designed with a deep understanding of the people they serve and the specific problems those people face.

To learn more about how Significo can help you empower your team's uniqueness and fuel optimal performance, contact us today.