Co-Authored By: Abhishek Danturti Sharma and Reetha Menon
Industry shifts in recent years require that healthcare organizations embrace the cloud to keep pace, with nearly 70% of leaders expecting to move their infrastructure to the cloud this year and 96% by 2024. COVID-19 served as an industry-wide catalyst for this change in healthcare, with many organizations having to quickly shift to their employees working from home and implementing self-service and telemedicine solutions for patients and members.
Healthcare has traditionally been slow to adopt cloud transformation due to rigid regulations with HIPAA and heightened sensitivity around patient data. The shift to the cloud can be a worthwhile investment for health leaders, driving efficiency in medical record-keeping, enhancing patient care, and reducing costs to operations like data storage. Yet, some healthcare leaders are dissuaded from pursuing this investment due to common myths about cloud adoption.
With some analysis of the three most common myths about healthcare cloud adoption, leaders can dispel misconceptions and better understand how implementing cloud solutions with the right infrastructure enables more efficient and personalized care to drive improved outcomes:
Myth #1: Cloud-based customer experience solutions are expensive
First and foremost, a healthcare organization’s most valuable relationships are with its patients and members. Cloud-based customer experience solutions, commonly referred to as, ‘Contact Center as a Service’ (CCaaS) solutions, have proven to optimize operations and better equip healthcare staff to coordinate care and offer greater convenience for patients and members.
Rather than dealing with expensive legacy on-premise systems, CCaaS solutions increasingly offer a subscription-based or pay-as-you-go model that allows organizations to choose the precise technology they need while avoiding complex pricing and large upfront costs. CCaaS solutions also provide greater resilience for healthcare organizations, with avoidance of painful, frequent outages that cause lapses in service, lost revenue, wasted agent labor, and excessive troubleshooting. Cloud solutions offer further reliability for the healthcare industry with the ability to scale for peak seasons and open enrollment, providing enhanced customer experience while creating efficiencies and reducing costs in operations.
Myth #2: The cloud compromises healthcare organizations’ data and information
Security of personal data and information has long been a major concern for healthcare organizations and patients alike. In fact, according to the American Medical Association’s JAMA Health Forum, the annual number of ransomware attacks on healthcare delivery organizations more than doubled from 2016 to 2021, exposing the personal health information of nearly 42 million patients.
With more security capabilities built into the software stack available to deploy by experts, cloud solutions increasingly offer greater security for healthcare organizations. CCaaS solutions reduce the dependency on local hardware for the storage of sensitive patient data, with automated software updates to keep systems and security certificates current. Cloud technology can provide greater security over healthcare organizations’ data and personal information by leveraging advanced security measures, expertise, and resources to manage security risks and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.
There are always vulnerabilities, such as customer data breach and non-compliance. But now there are guardrails for better identity and access management, including rightsizing permissions and access. Organizational policies can be defined to manage permissions easily within an organization. Various control options are available to encrypt and manage the data both at rest and in transit. Solutions are fully compliant with regulatory guidelines for HIPAA, PCI, and PII. Besides these, there are options such as multifactor authentication and biometric authentication to ensure the right amount of checks are done before carrying out an operation.
Myth #3: Cloud solutions are difficult to adopt
While migrating to the cloud can sound like a significant undertaking, these fully-developed solutions are relatively turnkey and easy to deploy. In comparison, customized, on-premise solutions have added complexities and are more challenging to integrate, given the physical servers required. Cloud solutions can also be scaled up or down, depending on a healthcare organization’s requirements, and offer more flexibility.
Effective collaboration and communication among all stakeholders involved in the adoption process – including IT staff, clinicians, administrators, and patients – can help ensure a successful deployment. With the right training and support in place, CCaaS solutions provide greater opportunities for improved collaboration by making it easier for healthcare staff to work together, share information, and coordinate care.
CCaaS provides more flexibility in terms of scaling of services, depending on the peak and through call volume seasonality like the open enrollment season specific to healthcare. Organizations can just pay for the usage and not be committed to any unused capacity.
CCaaS ecosystems also help flexibility in seamlessly implementing omnichannel and other digital interventions to collect better insights and effectively lower the cost to serve members. These deflection strategies for low- to medium-complex interactions involve conversational IVRs, chatbots, web portals, and mobile applications. The result is significantly enhanced member and provider experience for addressing several scenarios specific to claim- and benefit-related resolutions.
Additionally, an organization’s front-line staff working within a CCaaS environment have access to better tools and support. With these resources, these team members can efficiently take the right action through proactive knowledge management, real-time conversational and sentiment analytics, and next-best actions to better handle customer interactions betters. These levers greatly boost customer advocate productivity.
How leaders can seamlessly implement cloud solutions
Healthcare leaders can successfully migrate their operations to the cloud with the right strategy and infrastructure in place. Leaders need to carefully consider the best cloud solution for their organization, weighing the costs and benefits of other technologies on the market.
Once a solution is chosen, leaders should ensure their employees fully understand the capabilities and benefits these new cloud solutions will bring. Additionally, an organization requires the right tools and training in place to ensure successful adoption. For long-term success, healthcare organizations should also align their workflows and processes to be cloud-centric. Doing so will empower more dynamic, personalized, and natural automated experiences for patient and provider interactions to help drive improved health outcomes.
The ROI of CCaaS
Cloud-based solutions bring significant value creation—including the ability to rapidly customize and tailor offerings specific to a customer need. Many of today’s cloud suite features address omnichannel, self-serve, AI-enabled productivity, analytics, and optimization that can be deployed on demand. To gauge the success of a CCaaS program, the proven formula is via a total cost of ownership for the targeted business and increased member satisfaction for the same via NPS and CSAT.
With the help of CCaaS expertise, health organizations can experience outcomes like:
- Dynamic, personalized, and natural automated experiences for member and provider interactions thereby being an NPS/CSAT driver
- Up to 30% cost savings on total cost of ownership across CAPEX and OPEX
- One AI- and ML-powered platform for workflows, agent management and interactions, routing, and experiences across omnichannel and self-serve for the organization
- Reduced call volume by up to 10%
- Reduced supervisor effort by up to 20%
- Shortened AHT by up to 15%
- Reduced training time by at least one week
- Reduced license and usage costs by 30%
Reetha Menon, Transformation Leader – Business Transformation, Sagility
Reetha Menon heads Sagility’s intelligent automation and new-age digital solutions practice.
Reetha is responsible for digital transformation centers of excellence (CoEs) for healthcare clients with a focus on end customer experience (CX) and cost optimization delivery strategy.
Abhishek Danturti Sharma, Principal – Business Transformation, Sagility
Abhishek Danturti leads Sagility’s cognitive and AI initiatives in a consulting and solution delivery capacity.
Abhishek is responsible for and executes the digital product and innovation agenda across the healthcare organization.
The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.