Digital Health

The future of health care is digital

Taught by Harvard Medical School faculty, this Harvard Online course explores the opportunities and difficulties facing widespread adoption of digital technologies in the US health care system and explores innovative frameworks to think strategically about implementing digital transformation in your organization.

Featuring faculty from:
August 2024
4 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Applications Close
Course Calendar
November 2024
4 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Certificate Price
Program Dates
Applications Close
Course Calendar
Apply today for Digital Health

What You'll Learn

How has digital transformation influenced the health care industry? 

Millions of health-related data points are captured every day, from information collected by our personal devices and doctor's office visits to public health data collection about disease prevalence and treatment outcomes. Digital technologies have transformed how we buy and listen to music and how we plan our travel. Will there be a similar digital disruption in health care? 

Throughout this online digital health certificate program, you will become familiar with developments that have led to digital transformation in health care and weigh the pros and cons of digital technology in health care. You will understand the process of product development in digital health innovation by participating in a fictional hackathon, working alongside other learners to determine which digital tools to invest in. 

Using a selection of real-world case studies as a starting point, you will evaluate the potential impact of digital tools on patients, physicians, payers, and future health care ecosystems. In doing so, you’ll consider the impact digital tools have on these stakeholders to understand how data tracking and digital health products can improve patient care, enhance communication between doctors and patients, increase employee benefits and happiness, and track health trends and develop solutions.

While this course emphasizes independent learning, it also provides opportunities for peer collaboration through group assignments and online discussions.

The course is part of the Harvard on Digital Learning Path and Health Care Leadership Learning Path will be delivered via HBS Online’s course platform.  Learners will be immersed in real-world examples from experts at industry-leading organizations. 


By the end of this digital health program you will:

  • Understand how digital technologies can address critical pain points in health care
  • Learn how to think about applications of collecting and using data to inform health care, and the privacy risks and analytical pitfalls unique to health care data
  • Explore the opportunities and difficulties of implementing new technology in health care, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, apps, and sensors
  • Navigate the systemic barriers and often conflicting needs of health care stakeholders in bringing digital health technologies to market
  • Become adept at analyzing gaps in health care that can be closed with technology and data

Continuing Medical Education Information

The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 14.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will have access to claim their credits through the Harvard Medical School’s continuing education platform.

Your Instructor

Stanley Y. Shaw, MD, PhD is the Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Medical School. In this role, he directs Harvard Medical School's programs for companies and individuals in the health care industry that provide insights into leadership behaviors and emerging technologies. These programs educate learners across diverse sectors of health care, such as tech, IT, biopharma, investing, and care delivery organizations. A practicing cardiologist, Dr. Shaw’s research studies how digital tools, bioinformatics, the gut microbiome, and patient-reported data can be leveraged to better assess health and disease.

Job Outlook

6X More Jobs

Since January 2020, there has been a significant increase in jobs in the health care industry listing “Digital Transformation” as a required skill.

Join the Top 6% of the Job Market

There are more than 29,000 job postings looking for talent with skills including “Digital Transformation” and “Technology Entrepreneurship”, among others, while only 6% of job seekers list these skills.

Data: Source: Lightcast™

Available Discounts and Benefits for Groups and Individuals

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Experience Harvard Online by utilizing our wide variety of discount programs for individuals and groups. 


Past Participant Discounts

Learners who have enrolled in at least one qualifying Harvard Online program hosted on the HBS Online platform are eligible to receive a 30% discount on this course, regardless of completion or certificate status in the first purchased program. Past Participant Discounts are automatically applied to the Program Fee upon time of payment.  Learn more here.

Learners who have earned a verified certificate for a HarvardX course hosted on the edX platform are eligible to receive a 30% discount on this course using a discount code. Discounts are not available after you've submitted payment, so if you think you are eligible for a discount on a registration, please check your email for a code or contact us.

Nonprofit, Government, Military, and Education Discounts

For this course we offer a 30% discount for learners who work in the nonprofit, government, military, or education fields. 

Eligibility is determined by a prospective learner’s email address, ending in .org, .gov, .mil, or .edu. Interested learners can apply below for the discount and, if eligible, will receive a promo code to enter when completing payment information to enroll in a Harvard Online program. Click here to apply for these discounts.

Gather your team to experience Digital Health and other Harvard Online courses to enjoy the benefits of learning together: 

  • Single invoicing for groups of 10 or more
  • Tiered discounts and pricing available with up to 50% off
  • Growth reports on your team's progress
  • Flexible course and partnership plans 

Learn more and enroll your team

Learner Testimonials

The majority of Digital Health learners who participated in our post-course survey report: 

  • They can immediately apply their learnings to upcoming projects or projects that they are currently working on.
  • The most valuable aspect of the course to be the perspectives from industry leaders and Professor Stanley Shaw.
  • They are likely to recommend this course to a colleague or friend. 

"I am so grateful to have been able to take this course, and as a working adult with additional family responsibilities, could only have done so by its online, asynchronous nature. Dr. Shaw was an excellent presenter and is an inspiration for my own future endeavors."

Jeanne U.

"I have started a digital health company focused on provider burnout and improving efficiencies. I plan to have every employee take the course and will be providing it as an employee benefit."

Isaac C.
Co-Founder/Chief Technology Officer

Who Will Benefit

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Rising Leaders

Health care providers, administrators, managers, and decision-makers who are interested in implementing digital health solutions in their organizations.

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Healthcare Investors and Consultants

Investors, bankers, and consultants interested in investing or working with innovative health care technologies.

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Tech Entrepreneurs

Developers and entrepreneurs wanting to create tools and technologies to improve health and health care.

Real World Case Studies

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Photo of Katherine Chou

Katherine Chou

Hear from the Director of Research & Innovations at Google on using health and AI data for social good.

Marcus Osborne

Marcus Osborne

Learn from the Senior Vice President of Walmart Health on using digital technologies to make health care more affordable and accessible.

Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy

Hear from the CEO of Omada Health on designing user-friendly digital tools for optimizing patient success.

Syllabus and Upcoming Calendars

Digital technologies hold great potential for enhancing health care, in terms of empowering patients, improving access and equity, and delivering better health outcomes. Yet health care’s digital transformation lags behind that of other industries. This course, Digital Health, aims to help learners unlock digital transformation in health care and improve the industry by providing a framework to enable learners to think strategically about digital health solutions, develop and deploy them in health care’s unique culture and ecosystem, and navigate the sometimes competing needs of health care’s multiple stakeholders.

Learning requirements: There are no prerequisites required to take this course. To earn a Certificate of Completion from Harvard Online, participants must thoughtfully complete modules 1 through 4.

  • Study patient-facing solutions in the Omada Health case.
  • Identify barriers to care in simulated clinical interaction, and opportunities for digital solutions to mitigate these.
  • Take a patient-centric view of unmet medical needs, key metrics, and outcomes for a digital solution.
  • Navigate the potential of digital solutions to improve access but also create new barriers to care.
  • Study enterprise AI solutions through Google Health.
  • Explore the competing needs of stakeholders for an enterprise digital solution.
  • Consider physician needs and apprehensions about digital solutions.
  • Evaluate the robustness and potential weaknesses of an AI development pipeline.
  • Proactively anticipate how bias can arise in development and deployment of AI algorithms.
  • Evaluate how well competing fictional start-ups address the themes of this module.
  • Study the Evidation Health case to understand how to solve needs for patients and drug discovery. 
  • Compare the strengths and weaknesses of different digital business models.
  • Differentiate the capabilities of different digital care management platforms.
  • Consider the regulatory implications of different kinds of digital health solutions.
  • Reflect on obstacles to successful pilots with care delivery organizations.
  • Evaluate how well competing fictional start-ups address the themes of this module.
  • Study the Walmart Health case to understand digital solutions in the future of health care.
  • Compare health care to other sectors of the economy that are more digitally mature, as a view into the future.
  • Understand the usefulness but also limitations of the “patients as consumers” analogy.
  • Anticipate changes to the patient experience, culture of health care, and other stakeholder perspectives in a digitally-enabled future of health care.
  • Describe the challenges of data coordination and interoperability.
  • Evaluate the equity impact of a digital tool.
  • Decide which fictional start-up you choose to back based on your.

Earn Your Certificate

Enroll today in Harvard Online's Digital Health course.

Apply Now

Still Have Questions?

What are the learning requirements? How do I list my certificate on my resume? Learn the answers to these and more in our FAQs.


Digital Health Example Certificate

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