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4 Steps to Accelerate Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Digital Transformation in Healthcare Challenges and Opportunities

Embracing technology is the only way to stay relevant in the market and flourish. Digital transformation has reached its tipping point and has gained the topmost position in every industry’s to-do list. In the current times, digital transformation is not just restricted to the IT industry, but digital transformation in healthcare is being implemented in a full-swing too.

According to our State of Digital Transformation report, 80.8% of the respondents are geared up to accelerate technology spending in the healthcare domain.

Technology spending for the healthcare sector post-COVID-19 according to Net Solution

This, in turn, means that a significant portion of the healthcare industry still has a lot of catching up to do (technologically).

Here’s a complete guide that talks about the impediments that hinder digital disruption in the healthcare industry and how to implement a strategy that will lead to a significant change.

How Digital Transformation is Revolutionizing the Healthcare Industry?

Benefits of digital transformation in healthcare include:

  • Automatic management of patient and staff-related big data
  • Stay competitive in the healthcare sector
  • Improved communication channels for better interactions between patients and healthcare providers and other ecosystem partners
  • Maintain business continuity by facilitating remote care amid challenging times such as COVID-19
  • Quick diagnoses, faster treatment leads to satisfied customers
  • Reduced risk of human errors and improved overall patient care

Healthcare Industry: Challenges to Digital Transformation

The common reasons behind lagging digitalization in healthcare include:

1. Mindset and Culture

The healthcare industry has been operating in a particular fashion for decades, and it would be unreasonable to expect the immediate and successful implementation of technology in the sector. The resistance to change (both mindset and culture wise) will require time and efforts.

According to the State of Digital Transformation report, 23% of the healthcare sector respondents believe that lack of organizational readiness is the reason for lagging transformation in the healthcare domain.

2. Budget Issues

Implementing digital transformation in the healthcare market will require massive investments in technology and hiring digitally savvy minds. This would require more funding and thoughtful strategizing for healthcare-driven businesses.

State of digital transformation in healthcare industry

3. Governance

Governments across the globe need to be investing and promoting the healthcare industry’s digital transformation. Many have been initiating towards the cause – for instance, according to a McKinsey report, the US government has introduced incentives for the healthcare staff to encourage them to use electronic health systems to maintain records.

However, there is still room for improvement for normalizing digitalization. Governments should be creating stringent bodies to help healthcare accelerate the shift towards significant change.

4. Lack of Digital Skill Sets

Not everybody is digitally savvy. If digital transformation is implemented in the healthcare sector, training and coaching the staff for the change will be added responsibility. It will not only be taxing but will require the leaders to spend more too.

According to the State of Digital Transformation Report 2020, 19.2% of the healthcare sector respondents believe lack of digital skillsets is the reason behind ignoring digitalization in the healthcare sector.

To address the mentioned challenges, a healthcare digital strategy needs to fall in place to accelerate the transformation and prepare the staff for the overall change.

What are the key drivers for digital transformation in the healthcare industry?

To address the mentioned challenges, a healthcare digital strategy needs to fall in place to accelerate the transformation and prepare the staff for the overall change.

Digital transformation in healthcare goes beyond buying the latest IT system. The following are a few ways that can set a smooth path toward establishing robust healthcare systems:

1. Considering Agile Development

Agile software development introduces speed and flexibility to the process. Moreover, its iterative and incremental model enables the accommodation of newer additions and changes even in the later development stages.

When creating software that will fill the gap between healthcare and digital transformation, considering Agile Development is recommended. The right Agile Development team can also give you a hand at accommodating big data analytics services in your product, which, in turn, will help you stay ahead of the game.

On the other hand, for a large project, considering SAFe, i.e., scaled agile framework is imperative. Organizations familiar and experienced with SAFe hold the capability to execute your large development projects while ensuring both business and functional requirements are accommodated.

Agile Development Report

Open Innovation Delivers High-End Healthcare Disruption

The basic principle of open innovation is to break the siloed mindset that believes only in healthcare professionals to devise, develop, and disseminate novel concepts and solutions in the healthcare industry.

The key stakeholders involved in digital transformation in the healthcare market involve:

  • Public sector and private sector organizations
  • Health service organizations and their employees
  • Health service organizations and the people they serve

Digital transformation can be brought into healthcare organizations by partnering with local governments and other healthcare providers to build an open innovation ecosystem. Using this ecosystem, custom-built interfaces can be designed to access the available healthcare data.

Several countries, including Finland, have recognized the benefits of open innovation platforms. Various organizations driven by the government-run Social Insurance Institution of Finland came into a partnership to build a set of digital healthcare services for the healthcare sector, Kanta, thereby turning Finland into Digital Finland.

Kanta architecture

Kanta is developed on open system architecture, allowing software developers to build tailored interfaces for patient data. It includes personal electronic health records, prescription services, and a patient-data repository available in real-time. Digital services like Kanta help both the citizens as well as social welfare and healthcare service providers.

paperless prescription in digital transformation in healthcare

Here’s How We Built an EMR Decision Support Engine for Our Client

One of our clients approached us to get a bespoke decision support engine built that empowers the healthcare staff to easily and quickly write, change, and test rules that facilitate patient data. The client wanted to:

  • Automate and speed up the process of diagnosing a disease
  • Overcome human errors in the diagnosis of a particular problem
  • Define algorithms in a system that can be used to calculate ASCVD score, BMI, etc.

We started the MVP development project that helped us keep the ‘could have’ features out of the first release, which kept the costs down and values high. Read the case study to know how we built an EMR with built-in decision support engines and unique workflows.

EMR case study

3. Offer Digital Service Delivery to Your Consumers

Today, digitization has successfully entered into various industries like travel, banking, and entertainment. The multiple sets of technologies have integrated into consumers’ lives to the extent that they expect the same level of digital service delivery even in other industries like healthcare.

Emerging technologies are increasingly becoming a part of human lives in such a way that technology is becoming a vital part of a person’s identity. Leaders from the healthcare industry should leverage these unique digital identities to deliver more personalized services, thereby building a trustworthy relationship with consumers.

A survey from McKinsey reveals that consumers are willing to use digital technology in healthcare, and they even expect an omnichannel experience across all the touchpoints.

what consumers feel about digital transformation in healthcare

Kinsa, a tech startup that builds smart thermometers, allows consumers to track their fevers through a smartphone app. Clorox paid to license this health information from Kinsa. The data available with Clorox highlighted the ZIP codes around the country that had a large number of people suffering from fever.

The healthcare company used this information to direct more ads to the infected areas assuming that households in the market for products like its disinfecting wipes.

In the post-digital era, if healthcare organizations have the potential to build one-to-one relationships with individual healthcare consumers, it implies they have become their consumer’s trusted healthcare partner.

4. Optimal Workforce Mix can help Accelerate Digital Transformation in Healthcare

As mentioned, digital transformations are not just about technology; they are about organizational culture.

The healthcare industry is considered the most labor-dependent domain, and thus the Human + Machine approach yields the best results in this industry. Digital technology helps lift the weight of processes, thereby allowing the organization to work at a new level of efficiency while ensuring care delivery.

Human + Machine integration paves the way for a flexible and fluid ecosystem, resulting in increasingly distributed knowledge. Quick access to knowledge is critical to an agile transformation of a healthcare enterprise.

Human and machine collaboration in digital transformation

A collaborative study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School showcased that Artificial Intelligence is not just about Machines vs Humans.

To identify Metastatic Breast Cancer, a Deep Learning Algorithm was trained to interpret pathology images. The algorithm trained by them reached an accuracy of 92.5%, whereas Pathologists reached an accuracy of 97%. However, when used in combination, the detection accuracy reached approximately 100% (99.5%).

It is exactly this sort of collaboration between humans and machines that are going to play an essential role in this AI-powered era, and digital stakeholders that make wise investments in the right workforce-machine mix can spur on technology breakthroughs.

Trust: The Foundation of Digital Transformation in the Healthcare Industry

Although there are many benefits of digital transformation in healthcare, there is still a considerable gap in expectation between how patients want healthcare to be delivered and how it is being delivered. No doubt, consumers want their demands met; however, they do not want their privacy to get shackled by healthcare organizations.

For instance, The World Street Journal reported that hospitals across the United States are giving tech giants—Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon—access sensitive identifiable medical records. And it implies that tons of private records of patients could be handed over to these tech giants under the signed deal.
The question that arises here is:

  • Are patients aware of the transfer of their data to these tech leaders?
  • Whether they should be informed and given a chance to opt-in or out?

The answers to the above questions are NO and YES respectively, and when combined, this is no less than a breach of consumers’ privacy.

Technology can enable healthcare enterprises to undergo a digital transformation. However, remember that tailoring personalized experiences to the consumer also means figuring out the extent to which you should tailor their experience. Follow a security-first approach from the beginning.

Latest Trends around Digital Transformation in Healthcare

The latest healthcare technology trends 2020 include:

Digital transformation in healthcare - Latest Trends

Is Digital Health the Future of Healthcare?

In today’s post-digital Darwinian world, healthcare is learning, evolving, and growing. To adapt and focus on customer-centric vision, the healthcare industry has understood that digital must become a vital part of everything it does.

While investments in social, cloud and analytics are progressing and adding value, the healthcare industry leaders should look towards more sophisticated ways to deliver a satisfactory customer experience.

All of this is kind of easier to consider than execute for organizations that are still dependent upon decades-old legacy systems and operating models. However, strategizing today for the post-digital world is essential as healthcare organizations continue to embark upon their digital transformation journeys.

Contact Net Solutions for help with developing software for the healthcare domain

Arshpreet Kaur

About the Author

Arshpreet is a Lead Business Analyst at Net Solutions. She plays an indispensable role in providing top-notch analytical and resource management advice to businesses. Her well-rounded knowledge in engineering concepts and a certification as a Scrum Product Owner helps her handle multiple projects effectively while defining the product vision and delivering value to customers.

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