What are the top trends for digital transformation in healthcare? Below, we’ll look at 2019 trends, as well as future forecasts.
To start with, let’s look at some research and statistics.
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Digital Transformation in Healthcare: 2019 Stats and Trends
According to research from Accenture:
- 94% of healthcare executives report that innovation has accelerated in their organizations over the past 3 years
- 80% agree that SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) have become integral parts of their technology foundations
- 77% feel that employees are more digitally mature than their organizations
- 68% agree that in the next 3 years, every employee will have access to a team of bots to accomplish their work
For years, Accenture and other leading research firms have emphasized the importance of Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud technologies.
However, in the coming years, a new technology foundation is expected to take hold: DARQ.
The Future Is DARQ
DARQ stands for the Distributed ledger, Artificial intelligence, extended Realities, and Quantum computing.
In the above report, Accenture says that these technologies are already emerging in healthcare:
- 89% of executives claim that they are already experimenting with DARQ technologies
- 68% believe that DARQ technologies will have “transformational” or “extensive” impacts on their organizations
- More than 38% of organizations have already adopted extended reality (XR) across one or more business units
However, digital transformation doesn’t just mean technology adoption.
It also implies the adoption of new business models, strategies, and modes of communication.
The Digital Healthcare Customer
Patients want convenience and speed.
But they also want control over their private information.
Healthcare organizations must walk the fine line between customer service and being too “creepy.”
That balance varies from customer to customer, so companies that can strike a personalized balance will maintain better customer realtionships.
To succeed, organizations should:
- Make privacy and security a top priority
- Ensure that the entire technology chain is secured
- Be clear about their intentions with regards to privacy and data
Proactive communication can help build trust, which will improve customer relationships, longevity, and value.
The Digital Healthcare Worker
The healthcare industry has seen the adoption of a number of technologies and trends, from mobile healthcare apps to electronic health records (EHRs).
However, unlike some other industries, healthcare is very labor-dependent.
Despite this dependence, healthcare has seen very little gains in worker productivity.
As mentioned above, 77% of healthcare executives feel that workers themselves are more technologically advanced than the organizations themselves.
This contrasts sharply with other industries – where executives feel that workers’ lack of skills often hinders innovation.
However, the digital maturity gap will not stay in this state forever.
During the next decade, the healthcare industry will continue to transform and catch up to the rest of the digital economy.
As technology continues to advance, healthcare organizations must take steps to continue improving employee performance and employee productivity.
Future Digital Transformation Trends
During the next several years, Accenture feels that the adoption of DARQ technologies will accelerate.
This trend will impact virtually every industry on the globe, not just healthcare.
However, a report created by Accenture and the World Economic Forum predicts a few major trends for the healthcare industry:
- Smart care, using tools such as precision medicine and robotics, will improve patient outcomes and decrease healthcare costs
- Care anywhere will increase availability and convenience, allowing patients to receive more healthcare services at home
- Empowered care, through the development of “living services,” will allow patients to take more active roles in their own care
- Intelligent health enterprises will maximize effienciency through data-driven solutions
These trends are expected to dominate the healthcare industry during the 2020s.
Ultimately, these trends will fundamentally reshape the way the industry operates, especially in mature economies.
Barriers to Transformation
What challenges will the healthcare industry face in regards to digital transformation?
Here are a few:
- Regulation and legal compliance. Outdated regulations can constrain technological progress, particularly in heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare. The more restrictive the regulations, the more difficult it is to take advantage of technological advances.
- The complexity of the healthcare industry. A healthcare organization is much more complex than a private company. It consists of a variety of parties, factors, and conflicting interests – security, HIPAA compliance, customer demands, data privacy, employee needs, costs, and so on.
- Changing customer expectations. Customers want convenience and control over their healthcare. In today’s digital marketplace, they actually expect it. And, at the same time, they require more control over their data and their privacy.
- Worker skill sets. As mentioned, many organizations consider their workers to be more digitally mature than the organization itself. However, a more granular view of this topic reveals a more nuanced problem – as healthcare becomes more digital, the need for specialized digital skills will increase.
- Culture. To survive in the digital era, organizational cultures should become more digital, more innovative, and more open to change. However, as with any other change project, transformation initiatives are complex, long-term affairs.
The obstacles to transformation listed here are just some of those faced by the healthcare industry.
Overcoming them, however, can signficantly increase the success rates for transformation projects, decrease costs, and accelerate innovation.