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An Interview with Christine Jacob, Ph.D.

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Interviews,

Christine Jacob, Ph.D

Christine Jacob, Ph.D

Founder and Managing at Director Digi-Bridges GmbH & Lecturer and Health-Tech Researcher at FHNW

Key Topics:Digital Health, Digital Therapeutics, eHealth, mHealth, Health IT, Telemedicine, Technology adoption in healthcare
Location:Switzerland / Global

With over 20 years of industry experience and a Ph.D. in Health Tech adoption, Christine is a seasoned Healthcare executive that held several leading international positions in major Pharma companies. Her career encompassed several Digital Strategy roles, where her aim was to help her stakeholders to adopt innovative user engagement strategies, successfully connecting with their key customers to create relevant and sustainable digital health solutions and implementation strategies. She also acts as a senior business consultant and strategy advisor to several major players in the healthcare industry, in addition to her work with Digital Health start-ups.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

My years of digital strategy experience with Pharma giants such as Roche and Novartis equipped me with a very good understanding of digital health challenges and opportunities; I complemented this knowledge with in-depth academic research through my Ph.D. studies at ARU in Cambridge and my work as a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland where I look into the different social/organizational/technical factors impacting user adoption of Digital Health Tools. This unique background that balances practice and academic research enables me on one hand to lead hands-on Digital Health strategy and implementation programs with the rigor of a scientist, and on the other hand to conduct research that goes beyond theory and tackles real-life issues in a very practicable manner.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

My work mostly focuses on Healthcare Technology adoption, looking into the social, organisational, and technical factors impacting user acceptance of novel digital health tools. I have led several research projects involving Pharma, digital health start-ups, and diverse clinics and hospitals across Europe, and published several key papers and case studies around the topic.

Who influences you within these topics?

I am inspired by many great influencers in the Digital Health space, some are practitioners and some are academics, and many of them also specialize in some sub-topics such as AI or VR in healthcare, and I constantly learn from their experience and the knowledge they share. They are too many to mention here, but perhaps this list of the top 100 Digital Health influencers is a good place to start. I have had the privilege to get in touch with many of them and have a personal relationship where we exchange our experiences; I am always impressed by how generous they are in sharing their knowledge and leveraging their connections to foster the success of Digital Health around the world.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Health care technologies are generally more complex than tools that address individual user needs as they usually support patients with comorbidities who are typically treated by multidisciplinary teams who might even work in different health care organizations. This special nature of how the health care sector operates and its highly regulated nature, the usual budget deficits, and the interdependence between health care organizations necessitate a shift toward approaches that take into account implementation challenges that factor in the complexity of the sociotechnical structure of health care organizations and the interplay between the technical, social, and organizational aspects.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The promising potential of Digital Health is clear, and the current pandemic emphasized how these tools can revolutionize healthcare as we know it and accelerate many policy shifts such as more favorable reimbursement rules as well as a push towards infrastructure harmonization and interoperability. However, the factors affecting adoption go beyond the technical features of the tools themselves to embrace significant social and organizational elements. Technology providers, clinicians, and decision-makers should work together to carefully address any barriers to improve adoption and harness the potential of these tools.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Successful players in the Digital Health space are the ones who ensure that their users, let it be clinicians or patients, are “partners” and “co-creators” not just “testers” of a solution that the provider already created. They embed their key stakeholders in all phases of the product cycle from ideation to delivery, and this does not only include users such as clinicians and patients, but also other relevant stakeholders such as payers (insurance companies), and pharma as they bring rich insights on disease management and treatment possibilities.

Furthermore, they periodically conduct user adoption research to ensure that their solutions stay relevant amidst the constant change in this space, not only technological change but other factors such as regulatory (e.g., reimbursement rules), and infrastructure (e.g., better interoperability and system harmonization). This is why we see a lot of partnerships in the Digital Health space, bringing some of the key players together to ensure that they are covering all the different expertise areas, from technology to treatment approaches and disease understanding; such partnerships usually have better chances of success compared to players that try to develop their tools in a vacuum then bring them to the market.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

I have served as a senior Digital Health consultant and Strategy Advisor to some key healthcare players for years. I have engaged as a speaker at events or in internal training, as well as whitepapers, video interviews, user adoption research, and co-creation strategies for digital health innovation.

What are your passions outside of work?

I love traveling to enjoy nature and explore different cultures; baking and cooking are other activities I like to do in my free time, as well as photography and reading.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

By email.


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