Digital transformation in healthcare is really about people, not technology

Digital transformation is about changing how you think about developing services – the tools you use can help support that, but they won’t achieve it on their own.

Digital transformation in Healthcare is not just about technology. It’s not even mostly about technology. You can have all the latest and greatest apps, and if you don’t change the way you think about developing services then your digital transformation efforts will be limited to what your existing tools allow you to do.

The best way to learn this lesson is by example: look at how our healthcare system has approached IT over time. For decades, hospitals have been buying new computers (and poking at them until they worked), adding more staff members who could use those computers effectively, and progressing slowly toward using electronic medical records (EMRs). In many ways this was a great step forward for health care – after all, our health depends on clinicians having access to accurate information about patients’ past medical history whenever they need it!

But it’s also important to remember that progress with EMRs didn’t happen overnight; there were significant challenges along the way including cultural resistance from providers who weren’t used to working with technology in their daily lives outside of work hours as well as technical difficulties related specifically with integrating data across different software platforms used by different clinicians’ offices across multiple localities within one state/country/etc.

The healthcare industry is a slow moving one, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the kind of disruption that’s rocked other industries so far. If you’re in any kind of marketing or sales role, there are probably a lot of parallels between your industry and healthcare (and even if you’re not, you’ll see how much this applies to other areas).

The fact is, technology has changed the way we work in ways no one could have imagined just ten years ago. And while it can be stressful at times when things change so quickly, sometimes it really does feel good to accept that everything is going to keep changing.

Technology changes how people interact with services and that means we need to change how we think about engaging clinicians and patients in service design. This can be hard for healthcare, which is slow to change given the critical nature of the services provided. But the trend of technology changing what patients expect from their interactions with clinicians isn’t going away, so the healthcare industry can’t afford to ignore it.

Technology is transforming every sector of society at an increasing pace, from retail to banking, insurance and even transportation – all industries where customers have high expectations for a better experience. The health industry must also keep up with these changes or risk being left behind as patients demand more digital engagement with the services they receive.

The traditional consultation model between clinician and patient is no longer fit for purpose – it’s too slow and expensive. We need new ways of engaging people in their health. We know digital transformation can improve patient experience, but we also know healthcare organisations struggle to get this right

If you’re in healthcare, you know that digital transformation can improve patient experience. But as an organisation, why is it so hard to get this right? There are a few reasons:

  • Leadership buy-in. Leaders need a compelling vision for why their organisation needs to invest in digital technologies and how they will benefit from it. They also need to be able to build the business case for investment in technology with evidence that shows how digital has helped other healthcare organisations achieve success. In addition, leaders must ensure all employees have access to the right skills so they can embrace technological change and keep up with competitors using new technologies.
  • The right skills at every level of your organisation will help drive sustained innovation – both technical and non-technical skills are needed at every level of a healthcare organisation’s workforce (regardless of size). From front line workers who interact directly with patients through to clinicians who make decisions about treatment plans based on data collected using IoT devices and RPM for example; through to project managers developing innovative solutions while ensuring compliance standards are met across multiple departments within one healthcare setting; each person plays a critical role in helping deliver great results!

There are three big challenges to digital transformation in healthcare: getting the business model right, recruiting the right skills and getting leadership buy-in. The first challenge is getting the business model right. In healthcare, this can mean anything from figuring out how to incorporate telehealth into your service portfolio or determining whether you’re going to be a buyer or seller for a particular type of medical device.

The second challenge is recruiting the right skills. Healthcare organizations that are well-positioned for digital transformation are looking at how technology will change their workforce—who they hire and what roles they’ll need people to fill in the future. That’s why it’s so important for hospitals and providers to start thinking about developing those skills now, before they’re needed.

The third big challenge is leadership buy-in: not just from C-suite executives but also from other stakeholders throughout your organization who may not understand or even see any benefit in digital transformation efforts until they’ve already begun reaping rewards.

If you’re a clinician, your way of working will change. You’ll have more time to interact with patients and they will be empowered through technology. You’ll also have more time to engage in research. That’s the promise, isn’t it?

While medical records systems may be seen as the starting point for digital transformation in healthcare, they’re not where the real challenge lies. The biggest challenges lie around how clinicians work with patients in an increasingly technology-driven world.

The days of paper records and dictation tapes are over, but many clinicians still think that technology is a barrier to getting better outcomes for patients—and that’s simply not true. Digital tools can support healthcare providers to deliver better care and ensure patient safety, but they don’t achieve it on their own.

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