The COVID-19 pandemic has driven change throughout industry. For healthcare and healthcare professionals in general, attention on digital transformation and use of cloud technology has come to the forefront in a convergence of regulatory requirements, changing modes of care, data security threats, and evolving patient expectations.
Accelerating digitalization and identifying best practices for carrying data through to actionable insight has become a necessity. Many organizations have been forced to adjust their I.T. strategies and priorities. So, what is digital transformation in healthcare and what will it look like? According to a 2021 Stoltenburg/CHIME survey, at the top of the list of rearranged priorities among CIOs focused on digital transformation include:
- Using digital health to improve patient engagement
- Updating or modernizing EHRs for better data flow
- Strengthening cybersecurity
- Improving data analytics
Of course, healthcare is inherently data driven. “Data drives nearly every aspect of our healthcare industry. It helps identify longitudinal treatment trends, socioeconomic risks, missed payment opportunities and more. The broad scope of all of these inputs illustrates how mission critical it is to use the right information sources, tools and expertise” says James Bohnsack, Sr. VP and Chief Strategy Office of global information company TransUnion Healthcare.
Hospitals and health systems collect and store volumes of medical records and patient data estimated to be increasing 48% annually. Data collected across admissions, diagnostics, treatment and discharge as well as patient-provider communications represent a rich resource to those looking to improve care and reduce cost. The opportunities for organizational improvement owing to use of this “big data” have never been better. But how many healthcare organizations have designed future-ready systems to effectively move beyond the collection, storage and simple exchanges of data to leverage all the value of that collective data in the form of actionable insights?
In the past, organizations developed reporting capabilities (operational, regulatory, quality, financial) with disparate paths and processing of data. Although we’ve seen improved data collection, processing and access to data analytics among providers, the pandemic forced healthcare providers to quickly leverage new technologies and see a brighter light. Cloud-enabled supply chain tracking and patient scheduling for vaccines provided a clear example of the value of technology in improving workflow efficiency and management.
Moving forward, the good news is that healthcare providers and payers today have access to numerous solutions for efficient and effective data sharing, managing, mining and integrating to guide and improve their operational and clinical decision making. As digital transformation in Healthcare accelerates in 2021, cloud computing and data lakes that enable machine learning and artificial intelligence will enhance the way organizations gain value from their vast volumes of data and information.
Data standardization through use of HL7 FHIR is helping to build secure interoperability. Transforming from disparate sources and types of data to real-time actionable intelligence and insight has the potential for increased cost efficiency.
Data heavy trends such as telehealth and increased patient interaction through mobile applications are poised to push the need for more efficient technology and data flow further. As healthcare organizations continue to advance along the digitalization journey, we’re seeing a number of consistently mentioned priorities and needs in 2021. These include:
- Increased digital transformation initiatives with emphasis on flexibility and future readiness
- Greater investment in digital technologies that are transformative
- Rising attention to compliance and security
- Identification of strategies to best manage multi-cloud environments
- Application modernization to improve patient engagement and boost productivity
- Post-pandemic revisits of business continuity plans
- Continued increases in use of telehealth
- Continued interest in leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
- Increased resource needs for technology initiatives
- Desire to work with expert partners, not generic suppliers of services
While “89% of healthcare leaders surveyed are accelerating their digital transformation” (MIT Technology Review Study, 2020), most provider organizations do not have the internal resources and expertise to support their initiatives. It becomes critical to success to find expert partners that can provide a premium level of service and engagement.
2nd Watch is ready for your next step in digital transformation
As a partner for AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, 2nd Watch is a trusted cloud advisor. With digital transformation in healthcare accelerating in 2021, we can enable you to achieve your digital transformation objectives and fuel performance improvement while reducing cloud complexity. Whether you’re embracing cloud data for the first time, strengthening compliance and security, or seeking improvements through advanced analytics, our team of data scientists can help. Contact us to discuss your current priorities and explore our full suite of advanced cloud-native capabilities.
-Tom James, Sr. Marketing Manager, Healthcare