When it comes to healthcare, the digital experience has fallen behind in comparison to other industries. When the global health crisis swept across the world in 2020, it forced companies across the industry to utilize digital platforms and technology in order to connect with potential buyers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, health insurance organizations were forced to accelerate their digital agendas, forever changing how consumers interact with technology. Prior to the pandemic, many users had varying expectations of digital healthcare interactions. Healthcare providers and insurance companies are now expected to use digital innovation to make care decisions straightforward and personalized.
With digital health system transformation, the healthcare ecosystem will become more transparent, allowing patients to receive better care while businesses grow.
Is Telehealth the Future of Healthcare?
Given the sudden need for change, there are several ways that the healthcare industry is embracing the digital age. Many healthcare providers are using telemedicine technologies, electronic health records (EHRs), and other digital tools that better the quality and efficiency of care delivery. However, there is still room to grow in the healthcare industry in terms of embracing the digital age.
Digital technologies have not been adopted uniformly in the healthcare industry in the United States. Adopting these technologies has been slow for some healthcare providers, and data privacy and interoperability remain challenging for some. In addition, some healthcare providers can also have difficulty implementing and maintaining digital technologies due to lack of sufficient resources, IT infrastructure, and support.
Challenges that Healthcare Organizations Face
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many healthcare organizations out into the digital atmosphere. Although healthcare as a whole has experienced a transformation in many ways through digital transformation, some challenges prevent the industry from fully embracing it.
The resources needed to implement and maintain digital technologies is not something that most organizations have the ability to tackle readily. In large health systems with multiple facilities and a large number of patients, implementing and maintaining digital technologies can be time-consuming and requires IT infrastructure and support.
Interoperability is another challenge. Getting different digital systems and technologies to work together and exchange data with success is proving to be more challenging than anticipated, especially when different health systems use different technologies that may not be compatible.
Protecting patient data is of critical importance in the healthcare industry. Health systems must ensure that their digital systems are secure and compliant with relevant regulations in order to protect patient data.
Implementing new technologies and processes can disrupt the way a health system operates, and it can be challenging to get staff to accept these changes. The lack of standardization within the healthcare industry can make it difficult for large health systems to adopt new technologies and processes. Having a limited budget, staff, and time can make implementing and maintaining digital technologies difficult.
In addition, healthcare companies are bound to HIPAA and various other industry-specific regulations. This makes a full digital transformation even more challenging as companies are forced to consider the privacy and security requirements of HIPAA when making any changes to a digital atmosphere.
Although the healthcare industry does face unique challenges when it comes to a full health system transformation, it does not mean that they have to miss out on the benefits of a digital transformation in healthcare. There are several ways that the industry can learn from the failures and successes of other industries moving forward.
Tips for Effectively Advancing a Health System Transformation
There are many benefits of digital transformation in healthcare, but in order to be successful, health organizations should take the following steps toward their digital health system transformation:
1. Identify and prioritize key areas for improvement
Locating areas within the health system that need digital transformation and prioritizing them is critical. It may be necessary to conduct a needs assessment or an analysis of current processes to identify inefficiencies or bottlenecks that can be addressed.
2. Engage stakeholders
Ensure that the transformation efforts are aligned with the needs and priorities of the health system by engaging key stakeholders, such as other healthcare providers, staff, and patients. Each member of the IT, clinical, and administrative staff needs to have an equal voice.
3. Identify and leverage best practices
Learning from other healthcare organizations that have successfully implemented it can be incredibly beneficial. This can help move your organization forward by seeing what works (and what doesn’t).
4. Invest in the right technology and infrastructure for your needs
The goal is to implement digital tools and telemedicine technologies that can scale with your organization’s needs and are easy to use. For this reason, it is important to invest in the right infrastructure and technology to ensure that you are able to support the transition to virtual care.
5. Foster a culture of continuous improvement
By creating a continuously improving culture within the health system, telemedicine and virtual care programs can be sustained for many years to come. Establishing processes for reviewing and evaluating transformation efforts, as well as encouraging staff to identify and address areas of improvement, could be part of this process.
Is telehealth the future of healthcare? In short, yes. Over the past few years, we have seen a large number of medical offices, hospitals, and others in the healthcare industry move to offer more digital opportunities to patients. With increased use, it can only be expected that more patients will be making appointments with medical professionals simply by clicking a request button on their phones.
With the healthcare landscape constantly evolving, organizations must take advantage of the opportunities digital health offers to meet the growing demands of patients and providers alike.
Contact us today to experience the many benefits of digital transformation in healthcare.