Editor's note: Tom Donnelly is head of MedTech at Branding Science. He can be reached at tom.donnelly@branding-science.com. Mary Putman is lead digital strategist at Stone Mantel. She can be reached at maryputman@gostonemantel.com. Sam DePasque Swanson is research manager at Branding Science. She can be reached at samantha.swanson@branding-science.com. Pam Rubio-Soletto is associate director at Branding Science. She can be reached at  pam.rubio-soletto@branding-science.com.

The acceleration of digital health tool (DHT) use, along with patients’ increased willingness to provide nontraditional data, has provided the health care community the opportunity to improve health care outcomes for patients and health care practitioners. In this article, we will discuss key points in patients’ journeys where health tools can be most impactful, as well as the types of data that can be leveraged to improve patients’ journeys across acute, chronic and wellness paths. 

DHTs encompass a variety of options and have scattered use depending on the specific tool, type of journey and stakeholder using it. Some DHTs are useful for patients (e.g., health trackers), some provide critical information for health care practitioners (e.g., home monitoring) and some are provided by payers (e.g., telehealth, apps for chronic health issues). Companies that manufacture DHTs have diverse goals in the development of their offerings, ranging from disease prediction, health monitoring and adherence motivation.

When considering how DHTs can be leveraged to improve patients’ journeys, it is useful to examine the framework of standard patient journeys. Often, a patient journey is developed by a company to better understand patients’ needs and where intervention may be useful. Thus, many journey maps are disease-specific and most do not include digital experiences, tools or support. They are often missing potentially useful elements...