January 31, 2019
Healthcare is one of the industries that is beginning to embrace technology to continually improve efficiency, performance, and experience. From enhanced patient experience to improved public health to extended health services, technology has been instrumental in elevating almost all the aspects of healthcare operations.
Since technology is rapidly evolving and so is the healthcare market, digital transformation is a common practice now in the healthcare industry. While many organizations are still leveraging the traditional enterprise architecture, healthcare providers are increasingly considering digital transformation to revamp their overall business spectrum.
Transformation is not about a short-term journey. It’s an exercise focused on a long-term interest of the organization. It aims to bring sustainable stability to the business by covering all the aspects of healthcare including operational excellence, care delivery, patient experience, compliance, administrations etc.
However, it’s a complex task which is carried out in multiple stages and can take years before it finally succeeds in meeting its objectives. It also takes a significant amount of investment in terms of capital and resources.
That’s why providers should carefully plan the initiative to ensure the goals are met and it is able to derive the intended benefits.
This blog highlights five necessary steps before embarking on the transformation journey:
Information is the key in the accuracy of treatment and smooth running of healthcare operations. A unified information system is not only an advantage but also a need to deliver superior care. For healthcare organizations, an interoperable environment is essential where a secure exchange of required data can take place seamlessly across all the levels.
Many providers fail to achieve the desired results of their digital transformation initiative because of their negligence towards interoperability. There are multiple departments working in silos which becomes a challenge when it comes to data exchange and collaboration. It may create disharmony among them with respect to organizational goals and priorities, impacting overall business performance.
That’s why transformation planning should also take into account interoperability. Its success depends on the ability of healthcare information systems to interact with each other and share clinical data. Interoperability helps break down silos and brings agility to respond to business needs in real-time.
While initially there can be resistance and challenges in implementing interoperability, the focus should always be on the bigger picture. Interconnected systems can provide easier access to patient health records which improves treatment. Besides, they can reduce healthcare costs, improve operational efficiency, and enhance administrative workflows.
At the same time, interoperable systems should safeguard confidential patient information and follow HIPAA compliance.
Data security is one of the topmost priorities in digital transformation. For healthcare organizations, it becomes all the more critical because of the sensitive nature of information and a high degree of legal, financial, goodwill, and compliance risks. Besides, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires the providers to ensure that patient information remains safe and access to it is monitored and controlled.
Healthcare organizations need to make sure that there is a multi-layered security infrastructure which can provide them with real-time visibility into any possible breach and enable them to take proactive measures. They should consider a multifactor authentication (MFA) mechanism to control the access of data. A retrospective glance at the history of data access will enable them to establish a stronger framework.
To minimize security investments and to make the most out of current systems, providers should also see that the security solution can be integrated with the existing enterprise systems and can be extended to mobile devices.
One of the major hurdles in attaining this goal arises due to the existence of silos. Instead, there is a need for a robust security framework across all the departments over the enterprise network.
Healthcare technologies are helping providers do their jobs better and achieve a higher business performance. However, many of them are still falling short of reaching their digital strategy objectives due to the skill gap.
Getting an insight into how your nursing staff can utilize the power of technology to improve patient care is the key to the success of your digital marketing initiative.
Digital transformation planning should include how to engage your workforce right from the beginning of the initiative. Providers need to remember that the digital is the future of the healthcare sector, and that a digitally skilled workforce should be a priority. For this, providers should leverage both existing technology and upcoming initiative to train the workforce.
However, simultaneously, providers should consider that due to the increasing demand for quality healthcare and the limited number of nursing professionals, employees across all the departments in a healthcare organization fall victim to increased stress. On the other hand, doctors have to perform a lot of paperwork which engages them in administrative tasks and prevents them from dedicating more time to the job which is attending their patients.
In a dynamic industry such as healthcare, leadership should factor in the need for time to train employees from the digital perspective.
Innovation may sound quite a common word these days but it’s what minimizes the impact of market volatility and varying patient needs.
Transformation exercise should aim to foster a culture of innovation in the organization. Changing market dynamics and varying patient needs, coupled with the need for delivering preventive care, are an indication that traditional approaches are not going to be sufficient anymore. Providers need to be more agile to cope up with ever-changing healthcare market in real-time. To do this, they need to make data-driven decisions to ensure higher accuracy.
It should be made sure that all the stakeholders in the healthcare organization, irrespective of their place in the hierarchy, make some sort of decision at a different level. Each decision plays a unique role at some stage in patient care delivery. Using an innovative mindset, they can make more informed decisions using tools, real-time data and other resources that they require to perform their jobs.
It’s important to remember that innovation isn’t an approach but a mindset. Once the innovation becomes an integral part of the healthcare strategy, providers will be able to bring innovation in patient care and operations and meet changing consumer demands. Innovation will enable them to offer better solutions and services to the patients, thereby enhancing their experience and strengthening relationships with them.
Every healthcare organization is a big ecosystem consisting of several third-parties like vendors and partners. Not involving the entire network in digital transformation planning can leave significant gaps in the implementation of the initiative.
Providers should look for the partners that have thorough expertise in their domain like cloud, analytics, architecture etc. The role of partners is critical in this ecosystem. Their contribution shouldn’t only be limited to IT services. They should be able to provide the organizations with consultative assistance. A dependable partner is expected to assess your digital positioning, identify the areas of improvements and suggest the best possible solutions for superior results.
The third-party network is a specifically important aspect to cover as their vulnerabilities can be susceptible to potential cyber breaches.
If you want to know more about this topic, feel free to reach out to our team at TechJini. TechJini is an IT partner for many healthcare providers and specializes in end-to-end digital transformation consulting.