Digital health technologies — ranging from smartphone apps to simple text-based reminders — are rapidly emerging to help individuals manage their own health. However, few of these tools address the needs of Medicaid’s highest-need, highest-cost beneficiaries. Individuals in this population often have unique health and social needs and face a variety of challenges in accessing and navigating the health care system.

To better understand how digital technologies can potentially help high-need, high-cost Medicaid populations in better managing their health, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), with support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, conducted a series of consumer focus groups in the spring of 2013. Focus group participants described the challenges they experience in managing their care; the role that technology plays in their lives; and opportunities for technology to help better manage their health.

This brief summarizes focus group themes and explores new opportunities for developers, entrepreneurs, and health care delivery systems to pursue digital health innovations to benefit Medicaid’s most complex need populations.

To learn more about the consumer interviews and focus groups that informed this brief, see Digital Health Focus Groups Supplemental Information.