Where will digital transformation take healthcare next?
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Despite the fact that the United States’ healthcare system is among the world’s most expensive, it ranks at the bottom of developed nations where efficiency and effectiveness are concerned. That’s because not unlike in finance, where customer experience has been the primary benefactor of digital transformation initiatives, healthcare tech has been slow to transform where back-office operations are concerned.

At the end of the day, many healthcare providers and systems are still leveraging a highly fragmented ecosystem. This is conflated by what a political flashpoint healthcare coverage has been over the past few years, as well as elevated security concerns where PII is concerned, that have made many organizations apprehensive about leveraging new technology -- in particular, migrating to the cloud -- to improve operations. 

But it looks like things are about to speed up. 

According to Mayur Gupta, former SVP of Digital at Healthgrades, this acceleration is in response to a fundamental shift in consumer expectations for how they experience services in other sectors. 

Digital transformation requires rethinking business processes. It’s about using digital technologies and data to put the customer at the center of your business. To succeed in digital transformation, look at your company’s ecosystem and determine ways you can drive more value for the customer.

Mayur Gupta explained in a Vision Control article on the topic

That said, there are some low-hanging fruit that the industry can grasp onto to help accelerate their digital transformation efforts sooner rather than later, including:

  1. Helping patients find doctors -- Eighty-five percent of healthcare decisions are still based on word-of-mouth, according to Medicom Health. That means there’s ample opportunity for systems to start shoring up data about their physicians and making it more quickly accessible to patients. With so much quantitative and qualitative information about providers available behind the scenes, streamlining network workflows to improve how this data can be synthesized and delivered to patients could prove invaluable in the long-run. That all rests on fit and efficient healthcare network architectures, which will likely require the retirement of legacy, hardware-centric workflows for ones that can more quickly deliver data between users and locations.
  2. Improving accountability -- While the healthcare industry might want to avoid consumer review sites ala “Yelp or TripAdvisor, but for healthcare,” it’s simply not that easy. A study from Deloitte shows that 71 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their primary care physicians, and they have no problem going to social media (or even the more traditional type of media) to air their grievances, this day and age. It’s high time that providers create a standard set of procedures for handling patient feedback that can help improve the quality of care, products and services, while stemming the tide of dissatisfaction that’s run rampant within the industry. This too requires a more efficient approach to collecting and sharing data that will eventually call for a move, at least in part, to a larger reliance on cloud technologies. 
  3. Greater transparency -- It’s a tale as old as time: Someone gets an unexpected procedure while on vacation or out of state, and then are shocked when the bills come in. Variations of this “surprise pricing” are all-too-common, as different providers and even different localities aren’t uniformly consistent on the cost of certain procedures or products on a case-by-case basis. It’d do the industry as a whole a great service if they were able to better communicate pricing, especially considering that healthcare costs are the largest common cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.

These are just a few of the changes that the industry can expect as healthcare begins ramping up their inevitable embrace of widespread digital transformation. But with all that’s at stake where it comes to healthcare, it’s important that network operations teams don’t undergo any sort of network restructuring that could impact operations (or put PII at risk!). 

That’s why it’s essential that teams employ network performance monitoring solutions before, during and after any network overhaul to ensure doctors and patients aren’t negatively impacted at any stage. To learn what kind of data teams should be leveraging as they transform their networks, read our whitepaper, Four Dimensions of Network Performance Monitoring.

Filed Under: Industry Insights, Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

Tags: digital transformation , healthcare , healthcare digital transformation , PII