Healthcare companies need to do better in 2020 with going digital. Source: Shutterstock

Healthcare companies need to do better in 2020 with going digital. Source: Shutterstock

How healthcare organizations can push forward with digitalization in 2020

DIGITAL transformation — the bandwagon that businesses have to jump on in order to maintain an edge today — has severely impacted the healthcare industry in recent years. In 2020, healthcare organizations that don’t embrace digital will struggle to survive.

However, if done rightly, the benefits of digital transformation are multifold: costs can be drastically reduced and healthcare services can be made easily accessible, creating an efficient healthcare system that benefits all, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographical region.

Organizations can spur digital transformation by partnering with local governments and other healthcare providers to create an open innovation ecosystem, where custom made interfaces can be developed to access the healthcare data available.

The benefits of open platforms, therefore, have gradually being recognized by various countries: Finland, for example, has developed a suite of digital healthcare services it calls Kanta Systems, which includes personal electronic health records, prescription services, and patient-data repository.

Kanta follows an open system architecture, thereby allowing software suppliers to develop tailored interfaces for patient’s data.

Likewise, China’s AliGenie and Tencent’s AI ecosystem are open platforms that can be accessed by manufacturers to create interesting third-party products for the healthcare industry.

Systems aside, for transformation to flourish in a business, employees must be well equipped with appropriate skillsets.

In the healthcare industry, employees — doctors, nurses, and administrators alike — are key influencers and must shoulder the responsibility to drive digital change.

For example, say an organization would like to implement a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. Physicians must be trained so they understand the system and can use it effectively, driving adoption across the organization.

A lack of robust understanding of the system could be disastrous — patient data could get compromised, information could fail to be documented appropriately, and operations could come to a grinding halt.

Therefore, in order for healthcare organizations to go digital efficiently, investing in the workforce to train them is key.

Finally, the power of the consumer voice must not be undermined, even in the healthcare industry. McKinsey reported that consumers are open to the use of technology in healthcare.

They expect to be able to monitor health metrics, order prescription drugs, look-up a physician’s profile, and schedule appointments digitally.

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule or route to going digital. Each organization is unique, where consumer’s needs and expectations vary. So, healthcare organizations must act accordingly.

The full potential of digital transformation, however, can only be achieved by focusing on the tangible value being provided to consumers.

What transformation looks like in each organization can vary, and it requires the concerted effort of stakeholders, including employees and consumers. When leveraged well, technology can serve an organization well, ultimately providing better healthcare to the masses.