Digitization, digital transformation and digital reinvention: What’s happening in healthcare?
If you’re a Trekkie, you’ll know that a “medical tricorder” is a device used in the Star Trek franchise to collect bodily information and help diagnose diseases. What you might not know is that the X Prize Foundation, an innovation organization and a facilitator of exponential change, recently announced the winning team in a competition to develop a prototype of a mobile diagnostic device inspired by the medical tricorder. The winner, Final Frontier Medical Devices, received $2.5M for their achievement. Developments like these are so exciting. In my 35 years of healthcare experience, I’d say the transformation we’re seeing in healthcare today, particularly within large healthcare systems, is like nothing we’ve seen before!
What we’re witnessing in healthcare is that automation is giving way to digital reinvention as there’s an urgency to respond and support continuous information services while focusing on optimizing costs and improving quality and experiences. Healthcare organizations are increasingly the recipients of value-based payments from insurers and employers, which are quickly replacing traditional volume-based payments. So, like other mature industries, a fee-for-service model is giving way to a pay-for-performance model. The most important element is that everything is patient-centric, whether it be service delivery, use of digital technology or creating loyalty.
You might remember a time when “digitization” was the buzzword in the healthcare space. That basically came to mean implementing electronic health records and having a web and/or mobile presence. We moved from digitization to a focus on digital transformation, where healthcare organizations used technology to transform the way they work. For example, derive consumer insights, create mobile and digital experiences and redesign processes to focus on telehealth.
The next wave of transformation that is almost upon us is to fully fledged digital reinvention. One that will be led by value-based care, new technologies like AI, IoT and blockchain and personalized patient care delivered anytime, anywhere. Digital reinvention is not just adopting technology and using it to transform care. Rather, it is completely reinventing the care model based on the new capabilities of innovative technologies. Just as with the medical tricorder from Star Trek, the technology itself opens up opportunities that didn’t exist before the technology was available.
As in any journey, challenges are inevitable. Particularly around buy-in from top management, enablement of care providers and addressing IT infrastructure needs. But once you’re convinced of the impact these technologies can have on costs, efficiency and patient experiences, it will be a matter of time before gates open up!
It’s up to healthcare organizations to decide how soon and how much they are willing to reinvent. The ones that are ahead on the reinvention curve will be the innovators, disruptors and leaders of tomorrow.
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