The healthcare industry has advanced a lot in recent years, from establishing mobile healthcare centers to conducting online consultations with patients living in remote locations. Despite having witnessed so many evolutions, several healthcare organizations are still facing difficulties in providing optimal user experience, enhancing operational speeds and efficiencies, and fostering innovative services and products. As the customer demands are changing dynamically, companies are compelled to shift their paradigm and adopt a far more rational and extensive approach, namely digital transformation in healthcare.
What is digital transformation in healthcare?
Digital transformation in the healthcare industry is a vast topic, acting as an umbrella for different aspects. With this approach, healthcare organizations can meet the consumer demands, provide remote services, make the products available through the internet, and many more. Furthermore, developing monitoring and tracking applications like mobile health trackers allow doctors to remain aware about their patients’ real-time health conditions, provide early treatments, and enhance collaboration at all levels.
In other words, digital transformation in healthcare industry allows doctors, patients, management professionals, and other sectors to collaborate and function from a centralized platform. This further reduces risks of miscommunication or communication gaps, delayed treatments, and many other challenges most organizations face with traditional operations and processes.
Benefits of digital transformation in healthcare for patients
Unearthing the impacts of digital transformation in healthcare requires in-depth understanding from a patient’s perspective. Owing to this, we have listed the major advantages patients of all types can enjoy with different forms of digital transformational journey.
Better and personalized services
First and foremost, digital transformation allows data analysts to implement AI-powered analytical programs embedded with machine learning and natural language processing algorithms. Together, these not only find the hidden trends and in-depth information from big data but also allow healthcare decision-makers to take prompt actions. Furthermore, analyzing versatile customer datasets will also give you the leverage to optimize your services and products according to the demands and offer a personalized experience to every patient.
Better communication with doctors
With online websites and chat rooms, it is now possible for patients to communicate with doctors directly over the internet rather than waiting in the long queue for physical appointments. Even though teleconsultation was in practice for a long time, it was during the pandemic that many healthcare organizations adopted business model transformation and integrated this service in their domain. As a result, patients can communicate with their concerned doctors from remote locations without any geographical or time constraint.
Easy access to personal health data
One of the major impacts of digital transformation in the healthcare industry is easy access to medical or health-related datasets. Several organizations allow their patients to track the health metrics, view laboratory reports, and access other types of datasets from mobile applications or websites. Furthermore, with IoT-based health devices like smart watches, people can easily track their health verticals in real-time scenarios, like steps walked, heart rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, calories burnt, and many more.
Convenient appointment scheduling
Online mobile apps and websites allow patients to book appointments with ease from the comfort of their homes. All they need to do is find the concerned doctor and book the slot according to their convenient time and place. These appointment booking apps are developed with advanced features like automatic appointment booking and cancellation, schedule change, push notifications, and real-time appointment tracking.
Enhanced patient engagement
Without a doubt digital transformation allows healthcare organizations to enhance patient engagement through numerous ways. For instance, wearables can now be integrated with mobiles for real-time tracking of health metrics, ensuring people are aware of their health conditions all the time. Similarly, personalized experience improves patient engagement by several notches, enhancing customer retention rates of healthcare organizations. Seamless communication and the reduced data silos also contribute to the increased patient engagement metric through digital transformation.
Benefits of digital transformation for healthcare institutes/ organizations
It is not just the patients who can benefit from digital transformation in healthcare. As per several studies, it has been proven that healthcare service providers and organizations have successfully overcome the bottleneck regions and transform their services and products to meet the market demands. In other words, technology adoption and modification in operational and managerial strategies help the healthcare companies to meet their consumer demands, provide optimal experience, and improve the products and services for better productivity.
Digital transformation allows healthcare organizations to reduce the overall capital and operational expenses while utilizing the budget in an optimal manner. Firstly, technology adoption paves way for automating the manual processes, thereby speeding up the operation, improving the overall deliverability, and reducing human interruption. As a result, they don’t have to hire employees to oversee the automated processes, thereby reducing the capital expenses. Similarly, scaling the applications, integrating new technologies, and modifying the strategies help the healthcare companies to reduce the operational costs, increase business revenue, and retain more consumers for a longer time.
Several healthcare organizations have collaborated with digital transformation agencies to optimize the business workflows and enhance the operational efficiency and speed. For instance, it becomes much easier to analyze the loopholes in process workflows involving legacy systems and make appropriate strategies to modify the workflows and eliminate redundancies and discrepancies. This further allows them to provide better services to the consumers and meet their demands on time without risking patient experience.
Enable improved interaction with patients
Digital transformation allows healthcare organizations to eliminate communication silos and enhance interaction with patients across all touchpoints. For example, teleconsultation app allows doctors and patients to engage and have a detailed conversation over the internet without setting up a physical appointment. Similarly, doctors, healthcare staff, and the companies can access different records and update the patients on time regarding their pending health checkups, laboratory results, and so on.
Secure database for electronic medical records
One of the major benefits of embracing digital transformation in the healthcare industry is storing all medical records electronically in a secured database. Most times, the database is centralized, allowing everyone to access records from a single platform without any further constraint. Furthermore, integrating top-notch security layers and encryption algorithms ensure the electronic records are stored safely and won’t be subjected to cybercrimes.
Enhanced data analytical models allow healthcare organizations, stakeholders, and decision-makers to understand the market trends, dynamically changing customer demands, and several other aspects with optimal accuracy and precision. Based on these reports, it becomes easier to make prompt decisions for the overall development of the organizational policies, services and products offered, and the inter-organizational culture.
The five-step process for innovation in healthcare industry
Begin with the base
The first step towards embracing digital transformation is to start with analyzing the existing culture, business model, domain, and workflows. This will help you to understand the loopholes that are currently threatening your deliverability and productivity. Once you have a complete report on the bottleneck regions of your organization’s model or policies, you can proceed further with orchestrating the workflows for digital transformation.
Conduct needs assessments
It is crucial to conduct a thorough assessment of the requirements your healthcare organization has for meeting the goals and objectives. For instance, you should assess your existing services and products to understand the drawbacks in terms of declining patient engagement, reduced leads, and so on. The assessment results will help you plan the digital transformational journey properly, thereby reducing the risks and mistakes.
Build the process and technology roadmap
Once you have the assessment results and data analytical reports, you can start working on orchestrating the process workflows. Collaborating with a top-notch agency offering digital transformation consulting services will further help you to build appropriate process workflows that can implement the required changes and features in your services, products, work culture, organization policies, business model, and so on. Apart from this, you also need to list down the technologies to be used to embrace digital transformation, like artificial intelligence, edge computing, cloud technology, machine learning, Internet of Things, and many more.
Execution and delivery
After you are done with building the workflows and listing the technologies to be adopted for enhancement and innovation, the execution and delivery phase will commence. It is crucial to adopt an agile methodology as this will help you scale the workflows based on continuous feedback received from real-time customers.
Provision for ongoing support
Lastly, you should plan for the provision of continuous support after deploying the new applications, implementing the modified operational strategies, and other changes per the digital transformational roadmap. With continuous delivery and continuous feedback principles, it will be easier to take prompt actions, resolve the errors, and keep the customers engaged for a longer time.
Top digital transformation trends in the healthcare sector
With the help of an on-demand healthcare application, you can provide prompt services to your patients and keep them engaged with your business. From allowing them to schedule appointments through the application to uploading the medical reports and triggering reminders for upcoming health checkups, the on-demand healthcare app can perform several activities with ease.
Big data indeed plays a crucial role in digital transformation in healthcare sector, allowing businesses to study the consumers and customize and scale the services and products accordingly. For instance, studying patient health records can help you understand the types of diseases being reported in maximum. Accordingly, you can change your services to offer personalized treatment plans for the same diseases so that your patients can have the optimal experience with your healthcare organization.
Another major digital transformation trend to look out for in the coming years is the use of medical IoT sensors and devices. Hospitals and healthcare organizations can implement these sensors on various devices like oxygen pumps, ventilators, nebulizers, and so on to track the equipment’s real-time positioning, analyze their working, and detect any faulty mechanism on time. Furthermore, medical IoT also makes it possible to monitor the patients in real-time scenarios, improve the medical care given to the patients, enhance operational efficiencies, and reduce the mistakes.
One of the major digital transformation trends to be followed in the healthcare industry is artificial intelligence. An AI-based healthcare assistant can communicate with the patients, letting them know more about the services or products offered, answering any health-related query, and keeping the engagement levels high. Similarly, wearables integrated with AI-based software can help patients track their health metrics in real-time and monitor their conditions with ease.
In textbook terms, telehealth means providing healthcare services over the internet without depending on physical interaction between doctors or healthcare providers and patients. There are several verticals through which this trend can be integrated with your healthcare organization, like mHealth or mobile health application, teleconsultation, remote health monitoring, and so on. Doctors can stay updated about their patients and their real-time health conditions without having to meet them in-person. Similarly, appointments can be conducted from remote locations, with no time or geological constraint.
Digital healthcare solutions use cases
Automated workflows allow healthcare organizations to speed up the services, reduce human errors, and enhance the efficiency and productivity by several notches. For instance, the automated billing system reduces pressure on human employees at checkout stations, enabling hospitals and other healthcare centers to deal with more patients at a time. Similarly, doctors can fetch patient records automatically without having to wait for the reports to be present in person.
Thanks to IoT sensors and 5G technology, ambulances can be connected with one another, establishing a clear communication channel. Apart from this, healthcare organizations can track the ambulances’ real-time locations and ensure everything is prepared on time to treat the patients without any delay.
On-demand healthcare solutions
With on-demand healthcare solutions becoming more popular, healthcare organizations have started to shift to a more radical approach for providing the services and products. These include assisting patients in online appointment scheduling, giving reminders about upcoming health checkups, viewing health records, and so on.
Telemedicine and virtual visits
One of the most impactful use cases of digital transformation in the healthcare industry involves telemedicine and virtual visits. Patients can schedule online appointments and consult with the doctors over the internet from remote locations. As a result, they won’t have to depend on physical visits and go through the hurdles, like not waiting in the queue for hours, travelling long distances to reach the hospitals or clinics, and so on.
In this article, we have explained the various benefits of embracing digital transformation in healthcare for both patients and healthcare organizations and service providers. Although it opens a host of opportunities, you should design the roadmap for technology adoption, strategy modification, and other changes before final execution and delivery. Apart from this, risk assessment should be conducted to mitigate the failures once the new or modified technologies, services, and products are deployed for real-time usage.
What are a few digital transformation trends in the healthcare industry?
On-demand healthcare and teleconsultation are the top two digital transformation trends that have revolutionized the healthcare industry lately. Companies and healthcare organizations can now provide enhanced services through virtual doctor consultation, online appointment scheduling, on-time reminders about appointments, remote booking, and many more.
How IoT facilitates digital transformation in healthcare?
IoT sensors allow healthcare organizations to track equipment movements, know their real-time locations, check their performance, detect flaws in the working, and even collect data for further improvement.
What are the benefits of digital transformation in healthcare?
With digital transformation, healthcare organizations can automate manual workflows, reduce capital and operational expenses, optimize the workflows, improve electronic records security, and enhance communication with patients and doctors.