5 steps to transform the digital experience in healthcare

Healthcare organizations must understand these elements of digital transformation today to succeed at DX in the near future.
By Tom Sullivan
01:54 PM
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Digital transformation might be more complex in healthcare than any other industry. But the time has come for hospitals to not just think about digital experience but, rather, to start planning for how to actually get to that digital state.  

“The value proposition DX offers is its ability to nurture digitally-enabled enterprises and reap rewards while offsetting risk, is far too great for healthcare organizations to miss,” according to IT consultancy IDC. “Healthcare organizations that thrive through DX are able to more effectively deal with challenges such as delivering on value-based care, consumerism and improving outcomes.”

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Consider that critical point. Value-based care, consumerism and better outcomes, taken together, comprise the very bedrock of next-generation healthcare.

Put simply: DX or start digging a grave because you’re going to need it. Paper records and even basic EHRs on their own will not sustain hospitals any longer.

But as with so many overarching industry trends it’s widely known that this is where the world is headed. Exactly how to cook up digital transformation, however, that’s another matter altogether.

[Also: Epic's rival EHR vendors say they too are making the 'CHR' switch]

To get started, IDC recommends formulating a DX vision and acting on it, experimenting with digital channels and ways to transform patient experience, become expert at deriving value from your data, transform existing processes and systems to disengage from inefficiencies, and don’t neglect the soft skill of inspiring people to transform the overall organization.

It’s time to understand what goes into that. The analyst house lists 5 ingredients in a successful DX recipe: leadership, omni-experience, information, operating model, and worksource. (That’s right: worksource not force.)

Let’s take a closer look.

Leadership. Executives and other top leaders have to make DX part of the strategic mission by aligning IT with business, operations and various departments. IDC also recommended instituting continuous DX improvement efforts.

Omni-experience. The somewhat unique phrase refers to “blending digital and physical interactive experiences,” IDC explained, to create the “omnipresent and multidimensional ecosystem” of an advanced hospital that “decreases costs and improves response times.” The end-goal of establishing such an omni-experience is to improve both competitive advantage and, ideally at least, market share.

Information. It sounds so obvious to suggest putting your own data to work in transforming the enterprise but things get a bit more complicated with IDC rattling off the list of data from which to extract value as customers, markets, transactions, services, products assets and experiences. Wait, that’s not all. Cost, customer service, flexibility, productivity and, not least, revenue.

Operating model. DX tomorrow will inevitably require hospitals transform today’s operating models by leveraging, among other things, digital tools, including IoT apps and devices, robotics such as robot-assisted surgery, not to mention interconnected systems and processes to control costs, manage risk and drive revenue where it previously was not.

Worksource. Think of enterprises tapping into knowledge workers via digital technologies regardless of geographical location or time zones. “The promise for worksource DX,” IDC noted, “is its impact on costs and productivity by enabling a smarter, more agile, and productive workforce with increasing levels of digital savviness.”

IDC’s research found that digital transformation is taking hold in specific areas among healthcare providers and payers: artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, cloud computing, consumerism, customer relationship management and Internet of Things.

“The emerging consumerist market character points toward the need for new service delivery models and product offerings, powered by digital capabilities,” IDC said. “Furthermore, future challenges such as rising levels of obesity, patients living with one or more chronic conditions, an aging population, and a widely unchecked healthcare spend are emphasizing the need for U.S. healthcare organizations to think digital and get digital done.”

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com