Strategies for transforming digital healthcare

January 22, 2020

Patients now expect rapid healthcare productivity and connections.

Since the early 2000s, patient consumerism has been on the rise. Today, more than ever before, patients are demanding instant access and in-depth information on their health status in real-time. With an increase in alternative care options, such as Urgent Care, telehealth/virtual appointments, and phone consultations, consumers are beginning to expect healthcare systems to operate as quickly and efficiently as ordering a product from Amazon. 

Looking into 2020 and beyond, it will be vital for healthcare systems to adopt technologies that streamline and enhance productivity, connectivity, and engagement between patients, providers, and payers if they wish to remain competitive in today’s consumer-driven world. 

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Below are four tips for implementing digital transformation in healthcare.  

1.) Survey the current landscape

With U.S. health spending expected to reach $6 trillion by 2027, healthcare systems need to be more strategic on where they invest their funds. For instance, in an age of innovation, it is more profitable to integrate existing technologies into a health organization’s system than to develop new solutions in-house. One question every organization should ask itself is, “where are the pain points and/or barriers within our healthcare ecosystem?” When asked, several healthcare systems expressed issues with sharing information among healthcare professionals, leveraging patient portals to effectively communicate and engage with patients as well as improving care coordination and channel-driven communication between patients and providers. Taking the time to survey and evaluate a health systems’ current processes and operations is a critical first step to effective digital transformation. 

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2.) Identify “the right” technology for the organization 

Once a healthcare system has systematically identified its pain points and barriers to care, finding the appropriate technology to solve the problem is the next big challenge. For example, a recent study by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) identified six technologies that have profound impacts on both patient engagement and practice workflow. The study found that implementing technologies such as patient portals, automated appointment reminder systems, check-in technologies, telehealth, digital payment options, and data analytics can help strengthen patient-centered care models in health systems. As 2019 comes to a close, it has been reported that approximately 70 percent of healthcare leaders have already, or plan to, integrate these technologies into their organizations by the end of the year. In the highly competitive U.S.-based healthcare market, time is of the essence when it comes to pursuing digital transformation.  

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3.) Get stakeholder buy-in

Ahead of pursuing digital changes to a healthcare ecosystem, it is beneficial for health leaders to first lobby their C-suite executives and board of directors. When presenting a case for digital transformation in the healthcare industry, numbers don’t lie, especially when pitching stakeholders. Some key takeaways to consider when presenting to a board of directors include that digital transformation can optimize operations for profitability, enable health systems to better monitor and track assets for productivity, and can drive cost savings through time efficiency. When the ROI is delivered to stakeholders in a clear and concise format, like above, the question to invest in digital transformation becomes obvious. Not to mention, digital transformation positively impacts a healthcare system’s bottom line to enhance patient care, improve patient outcomes and drive revenue. 

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4.) Educate and train patients

The final piece of the digital transformation puzzle entails getting the “buy-in” from patients. When implementing new processes and technology into any industry workflow, education and training is key. When transitioning patients to utilize new consumer-facing technology, it is imperative for healthcare professionals to be overly transparent and communicative regarding the benefits associated with the change (i.e. streamlined access to physicians, health records and scheduling, etc.). Once patients are “on-board”, healthcare systems should monitor, track, and evaluate the results. 

In conclusion, incorporating intelligent technology into health ecosystems to equip patients with on-demand clinical information, digital appointment scheduling, and other patient-centered services will be become the “new norm” for patient-centric healthcare in 2020 and beyond. 

Himachal Mukhopadhyay is senior vice president and healthcare business unit head at Infinite, a technology company and leading provider of digital transformation solutions. In his current role, Mukhopadhyay oversees strategy and manages an exceptional sales team focused on business marketing and raising awareness around Infinite’s Platformization™ concept. Mukhopadhyay has more than 20 years of experience in IT and business outsourcing, with a specialization in healthcare.