By Michael Norring, President and CEO of GCSIT
For the healthcare industry, investing in digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s an urgent necessity. COVID-19 has left healthcare workers burned out and a nursing shortage looming, digitization of care is the key to keep up with patient needs. Experts predict that hospitals could count a $53 billion loss in 2021. But modernized solutions can help.
Most sectors have been disrupted by technology over the past decade and healthcare CEOs are taking notice. Working to replace legacy systems and standardize operating procedures, hospitals are moving to capitalize on the rise of technology and the ways it can change the industry. In a recent study, healthcare leadership reported that their organizations are 60% through their digitalization journey.
Here are three steps that the healthcare industry can take to continue making strides in this space:
- Modernize IT functions. One of the first steps to moving into the 21st century is one that many in the old guard fear the most: Moving to the cloud. Utilizing software-as-a-service (SaaS) products and housing patient information in the cloud, workers can optimize their treatment and patient experience. In the same survey mentioned above, respondents also reported that achieving better patient experience is their top desired outcome of digital transformation. The good news is there are so many products on the scene to help with this. From healthcare-focused chat bots to SMS texting for patient appointments, modernized IT solutions will transform the entire treatment process.
- Establish innovative ways AI algorithms can help. Healthcare is never going to be a robotic industry—personalized medicine is here to stay. However, finding ways to supplement the personalization with AI and machine learning helps caregivers treat patients better and ultimately heal more people. A study by IBM proved that its AI technology accurately detected breast cancer in 87% of cases analyzed. Analyzing data and automating next steps for caregivers helps alleviate the pressure on an overtaxed staff by making decisions based on both their experience and the breadth of data from others. The biggest obstacle can often be getting doctors to trust the AI solutions, but helping workers understand that this technology is here to complement their experience and not replace it, is how the healthcare field can move forward.
- Keep the strategy agile. Agility is the backbone to any digital transformation’s success. Agile development involves short, fast phases of development, implementation, assessment, and adaptation. An agile mindset means not letting infrastructure be what slows an organization down when things change. The healthcare industry has been one of the industries forced to change the fastest over the past 24 months. No one can predict the future, but everyone can agree that it will bring change. The infrastructure of the future must be able to change and innovate to meet new needs. Patients are also customers, and in a world that offers overnight delivery and on-demand customer service, they expect a fast, seamless, and hassle-free experience. Digitalization of the healthcare field ensures that caregivers can meet the moment now and in the future.
The future of the healthcare industry will be digital. Experts predict that AI will bring $150 billions in savings for the US healthcare economy by 2026. The only question is how quickly leaders will adapt. In a world ravaged by a pandemic, finding ways to treat patients quickly and efficiently is key—and digital solutions offer new tools to treat everyone well.
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