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Barriers that Must be Overcome to Reach Digital Health Capabilities

Social Barriers that Hinder Digital Health Capabilities

The implementation of digital health capabilities is hindered by several barriers, with a portion revolving around social determinants. This is often due to factors such as digital literacy, social dynamics, access to technology, and human behavior. For instance, those 65 years and older experience declining health inequalities which can exacerbate health problems [1]. This is often due to the rapid advancement of technology and the lack of resources or willingness by the older population to become digitally literate. However, these issues don’t just stop at the older population. People with limited resources and those in rural areas may also face connectivity issues that hinder access to care [1]. Furthermore, minorities are more susceptible to facing the digital health divide, and those who are younger, more educated, and have higher incomes are more likely to access digital health information [1].

In order to bridge the gap between social barriers and meeting digital health capabilities, several initiatives will be required. For instance, digital literacy programs can help provide resources to older populations and those who lack continuous access to the Internet. Furthermore, more initiatives are required to provide affordable technology, specifically access to wifi for those in lower-income populations and in rural areas. This can help boost digital health engagement and lead to preventative health measures in patients. Overall, more community engagement and educational outreach programs will support increased access to digital health technologies, which in turn will reduce these social determinants.

Barriers that Lead to Failure in Optimizing Integration of Digital Technologies

Various barriers to achieving digital health capabilities revolve around the implementation and integration of digital health technologies. For instance, health systems may struggle to meet consumers’ needs beyond traditional healthcare facilities [2]. This means that although doctors provide care in person, they may not utilize health solutions outside of the office [2]. Furthermore, the lack of interoperability is a barrier that often hinders collaboration in regard to patient health. Additionally, not creating standardization is also a barrier that makes it difficult for different systems to share information. Moreover, the adoption of digital tools that support care continuity such as adherence to treatment plans, virtual visits, and even clinician messaging is low [2]. This hinders the effective integration of digital health technologies that ensure continuous care beyond a doctor’s visit.

One way to reduce barriers that hinder digital health capabilities is by improving workforce training. This in turn will decrease resistance towards new technologies and will help new technologies be adopted sooner. Another initiative is to improve interoperability and access to data between different systems so that providers can collaborate on treatment plans for their patients. Moreover, digital health capabilities will require adequate IT infrastructure, especially in rural areas. This means technologies that may not have access to stable wifi connections may have to be reconsidered or adjusted to address accessibility issues. Overall, it’s important that digital health capabilities are met by overcoming barriers that hinder the effectiveness of digital health integration.

The Importance of Overcoming Barriers

It’s important to overcome barriers to meeting digital health capabilities because this will provide more accessible and continuous care. Some barriers such as the lack of skill and talent may be easier to fix than social determinants. However, all barriers need to be addressed, especially those that reduce healthcare disparities. Addressing barriers not only fosters increased innovation in healthcare but also paves the way for patients to access new research and treatment options. Overall, achieving digital health capabilities promotes preventive health measures, enhances patient engagement, and expands access to care. Therefore, there must be a focus on overcoming barriers that hinder social and integration-related barriers to digital health capabilities.


HITS’ agency culture and mission facilitate customer/human-centered design. We tailor software and project management support products to meet our customer’s needs. Furthermore, HITS puts the “soft” in “software” development. We analyze functional requirements to ensure all needs are properly adjudicated to be included in the software. This allows clients and customers to have peace of mind that their needs are heard and acted upon. HITS also makes sure that all medical and appropriate representatives (either medical, technical, supportive, and/or administrative) are present during the High-Performance Team creation as a wide range of expertise is needed to develop the Capability Development Documents. Finally, HITS expects all staff to incorporate customer experience-related best practices and offers incentives for excellent customer experience performance and team collaboration.


  1. https://fortune.com/well/2023/06/02/medicare-digital-literacy-internet-access/ 
  2. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/digital-health-always-on-care.html
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