Digital Transformation

Unleashing the Potential of Digital Transformation in Healthcare

By Inderpal Kohli, VP & CIO, Englewood Health

In today’s ever-evolving healthcare landscape, digital transformation has become an imperative of the utmost importance. Serving as a foundational element, it paves the way for patient-centric care by optimizing operations, providing valuable insights into patient needs, fostering loyalty and trust, and delivering an enhanced user experience.

Empowering Patient Well-being with Strategic Digital Initiatives: At the heart of any digital healthcare strategy lies the goal of transforming care delivery, improving processes, and, most crucially, prioritizing the well-being of patients. By effectively using technology to bring healthcare closer to patients, these strategies have the potential to attract new patients, engage and retain existing ones, and bridge care gaps.

The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst, accelerating healthcare transformation, and reshaping the expectations of both patients and care providers. While current technology caters to the needs of clinicians and patient care, it may not be sufficient to meet the digital demands of healthcare organizations and consumers in the post-pandemic era.

What does it take to transform and unleash a patient-centric digital transformation?

Aligning Operations and Technology for Seamless Transformation: Digital transformation in healthcare extends beyond adopting new technologies. It requires a seamless alignment of operations and technology to deliver patients a truly integrated digital experience.

The transformation of healthcare in the last two decades has focused primarily on clinical and revenue cycle automation with electronic medical records (EMRs). These changes occurred in a controlled environment with knowledge of workflows and operations. They allowed us to coordinate technology transformation with workflows and, where needed, transform the operational processes to align with technology.  

The current shift towards patient-centricity presents new and complex challenges. Healthcare is more intricate than other digital experiences, yet patients expect similar levels of convenience and engagement, making this transformation a unique challenge.

The success of digital transformation in healthcare heavily relies on streamlining patient experiences.

Overcoming the Challenge of Transformation: Successful digital transformation in healthcare starts with streamlining operations. By leveraging digital tools, healthcare providers can automate processes, reduce administrative burdens, and enhance operational efficiency, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Additionally, digital solutions such as electronic health records (EHRs) and patient portals enable a holistic understanding of patient requirements, facilitating improved care coordination and personalized treatment plans.

Building loyalty and trust is crucial in this digital era. Leveraging platforms like telemedicine and remote monitoring allows healthcare providers to offer convenient and accessible care, enhancing patient satisfaction and fostering loyalty. Digital transformation also empowers patients to interact seamlessly with healthcare providers, access information, schedule appointments, and communicate with their care teams, thereby elevating the overall user experience and driving greater patient engagement.

Data-driven Decision-making: The quality and utilization of data are key advantages when transforming digitally. The ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data enables healthcare organizations to make informed decisions, which leads to improved clinical outcomes, optimized resource allocation, and effective population health management. Moreover, digital tools provide the flexibility and adaptability needed to respond swiftly to evolving patient needs and market demands, ensuring uninterrupted care delivery, particularly during times of crisis.

The Role of Stakeholders in Digital Transformation: To achieve successful digital transformation, operational leaders must collaborate closely with digital technology experts to deliver streamlined solutions. Leadership commitment and organizational-wide embrace of this transformational initiative are paramount to its success.

The Competitive Edge of Digital Transformation: By aligning tools, technology, and processes, healthcare providers can differentiate themselves by delivering superior patient experiences, gaining a competitive edge. Health systems can leverage their core strengths and key business drivers while focusing on return on investment (ROI) for specific digital engagement tools. Starting new services or operations with a digital-first methodology can provide an advantage over retrofitting digital processes onto established services. This approach allows greater flexibility and agility in implementing digital tools and delivering seamless patient experience.

The Vitality of Change Management: Change management, or operational alignment as we prefer to call it, plays a critical role in delivering a patient-centric, digital-first experience. The success of digital transformation in healthcare heavily relies on streamlining patient experiences. Achieving this requires aligning various front-end services like scheduling, intake, e-check-in, payments, and educational resources with patients’ expectations. Additionally, the use of AI and machine learning tools working behind the scenes can help process intake data and identify patients needing pre-processing or adjustments in care plans, thus ensuring an efficient and personalized approach.

The Future of Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Looking ahead, we anticipate an accelerated transformation in healthcare over the next decade, where patient experience and engagement will be paramount. Analog and digital care will continue to merge, with in-person care complemented by digital patient experiences. In this merger, data will inform robust patient profiles that enable a more personalized approach to care.

Digital transformation in healthcare is an inevitable model-change that empowers providers to deliver patient-centric care, optimize operations, foster loyalty, and trust, and enhance the user experience. By embracing this transformational journey, healthcare organizations can unlock the full potential of digital technologies, ensuring a brighter and more patient-centric future.

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