Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation is making its way across industries. The healthcare industry in particular is poised for a revolution.
Digital transformation in healthcare means something different to nearly every organization. Some organizations are looking to transform their entire day-to-day operations, while many are digitizing files or implementing telehealth services. And remember, it is not an all-or-nothing approach but a journey.
Below, we’ll discuss some of what the digital transformation looks like for the healthcare industry, including concerns, benefits, and how to overcome the challenges.
Digital Transformation Challenges in the Healthcare Industry
Although this shifting by the healthcare industry has improved many aspects of patient care and business operations, there are still challenges and concerns that medical professionals face with these new developments:
1. Data Protection
Due to the high number of breaches that currently occur, there are many security concerns in the healthcare industry regarding digital transformation. The HIPAA Journal states, “Between 2009 and 2021, 4,419 healthcare data breaches … have resulted in the loss, theft, exposure, or impermissible disclosure of 314,063,186 healthcare records. That equates to more than 94.63% of the 2021 population of the United States.”
However, the top cloud providers have certifications and meet major compliance requirements, including HIPAA. Many cloud computing experts even recommend putting your data in the cloud, as it can provide more security than privately owned, on-premise environments.
These cloud providers utilize a number of security measures to ensure hospital and patient data alike is secure. Moving to the cloud allows for a more secure environment for caregivers and patients alike.
2. Virtually Connecting With Patients
The digital transformation in healthcare initially began as a challenge of finding new ways to connect with patients. Utilizing AI screening, chatbots, and virtual nurses, in addition to telehealth appointments, medical professionals now have the ability to communicate with and treat patients in an expanded number of ways.
However, challenges exist in creating successful connections for patients, deploying efficient and secure applications, and most importantly, insurance reimbursement and full buy-in from the healthcare providers.
One specific telehealth challenge has been the reimbursements from insurance companies. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies did not cover telehealth services.
After the initial change of reimbursement for telehealth services, it continues to be crucial for organizations to determine what services health insurers will reimburse for. Even now, many billing policies continue to change and evolve across organizations as they continue to improve the medical experience for patients and medical professionals alike through digital transformation.
3. Patient Expectations
As in-person patient visits significantly declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients were missing out on valuable care. To address new ways to provide care, healthcare providers now realize they have to look at their patients as consumers in certain aspects, including how to manage their patient’s expectations regarding services.
To meet patient expectations, healthcare organizations are considering offering their patients more convenient options, such as:
- Online appointment scheduling options.
- Downloadable healthcare records.
- Communicating with healthcare professionals through video, chat, and other digital means.
With the right assistance from a company with experience, you can create a healthcare institution that meets the expectations of your patients through effective communication and new tools from digital transformation.
4. Change Management
To appropriately implement digital transformation in the healthcare industry, it’s important to consider how this will affect your healthcare providers to engage their full support.
Inevitably, questions will arise during the transition, and the right training and internal resources can give them the help and confidence they need. For example, maybe your employees are concerned about not having the right skills to handle any upcoming issues. Through training and internal resources, you can give them the resources they need and confidence for this transition.
What Are the Potential Outcomes of Digital Transformation in Healthcare?
There are a number of desired outcomes that can occur in healthcare through a successful digital transformation. Some examples include:
- Fundamental change in how healthcare is delivered. By implementing telehealth services, healthcare professionals have the ability to connect with their patients more frequently and provide services to more people, therefore expanding care.
- Real-time patient Information collection using remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring is invaluable in collecting information outside an in-person patient visit. For example, while a surgeon will not be able to provide surgery via telehealth (though this does not take into account robotic surgery), they can complete follow-up appointments through a telehealth model, which is more convenient for both the patient and the doctor.
- Better opportunities for the patients, doctors, staff, and insurers. Through digital transformation, healthcare providers and staff can provide new and improved services that help patients with a number of their concerns without them ever even having to leave their homes. This will pave the way for improved and potentially less expensive reimbursement models for insurers.
Partner With Onix To Overcome Digital Transformation Challenges
Digital healthcare foundation is built upon appropriate connectivity, organization and utilization of multiple data sources, which is why your data strategy is now more crucial than ever before.
A highly effective way to streamline the digital transformation process is to partner with a cloud migration provider like Onix.
Whether you're looking to move to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure, or from one cloud environment to another, we will meet you where you are in your cloud journey and provide personalized cloud migration and cloud management services to ensure you implement the best and most cost-effective solution for your institution.
At Onix, you get the guidance and support your team needs to benefit your digital strategy. Let’s get started on your organization’s digital transformation today!