Susan McReynolds

A Good Prognosis: Can Digital Disruption Heal Healthcare?

It’s no secret digital transformation is sweeping across industries with the promise to increase agility, reduce complexity and optimize customer experiences.  Those not embracing a digital journey risk being disrupted.

For healthcare organizations, the pressure is intensifying to drive competitive advantage through the latest technology innovations and capabilities that help deliver against the rapid pace of change.

In practice this means architecting the right digital foundation that can support the needs of healthcare organizations today and tomorrow. The rising flood of healthcare data generated by electronic health records, Internet of Things (IoT) connected healthcare devices, and technology-driven patient management solutions is fueling the pace of disruption across the healthcare ecosystem. And because data powers digital transformation, security controls must be top-of-mind to protect patient data and reputation.

Contained within all of the excitement of business transformation is the big question of how to address the challenges of siloed legacy systems, interoperability, data security and flat out information overload. After all, what good is digital disruption if you can’t capitalize on its benefits? The tremendous potential those working in the healthcare sector realize is documented in a recent survey conducted by 451 Research on Digital Transformation in Healthcare.

Four Drivers of Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Interviews with more than 250 healthcare decision makers around the globe identified four key goals underpinning digital transformation investments: operational efficiency, patient/customer experience, agility and risk management

Based on the study, healthcare organizations are seeking to prioritize digital transformation initiatives in the following key pillars:

Increasing Organizational Agility

Successful digital transformation for healthcare organizations requires accelerating timelines to modernize IT infrastructure for enhanced availability, speed and resilience. That’s why 53 percent of healthcare respondents confirmed overhauling legacy environments was the most important factor influencing organizational agility.  And with the increasing reliance on digital systems, processes and data across the healthcare ecosystem, the time to architect a secure, scalable and cloud-enabled infrastructure is now.

Managing Business Risk

When it comes to risk management, it’s not surprising that security concerns can be an inhibitor to executing successful digital business transformation. In fact, 49 percent of respondents cited securing patient data as the most crucial element in managing risk throughout the digital journey. With the rapid rise in the use of digitized health information like electronic health records and sensitive patient data, the industry is a top target for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities. It’s clear today’s healthcare organizations must deploy layers of defenses across the interconnected healthcare ecosystem to help mitigate risk.

Enhancing Customer (Patient) Experiences

Improving patient service was cited as the key component for enhancing overall customer experience by 45 percent of healthcare decision makers, with patient self-service capabilities topping the list of investment priorities. Patient satisfaction and patient engagement are other key focus areas. Innovative approaches to care, including telemedicine, can create efficiencies and improve customer experience for rural patients, those with chronic conditions and seniors, as well as tech-savvy millennials. However, with remote locations consuming more bandwidth and the increasing reliance on cloud applications, WAN architectures must be able to support agile and reliable connectivity and solve for competing performance requirements, so customer experience is not compromised. 

Improving Operational Efficiency

Because data fuels digital transformation, harnessing the power of analytics, AI and machine learning in the digitized world of healthcare will help drive actionable insights, productivity and improved outcomes. To that end, 44 percent of survey respondents ranked making better use of healthcare data to improve decision making as the top driver for enhancing operational efficiency. And because the right foundation matters, hybrid cloud architectures can better support the scalability and compute power required to ingest and enable data analytics workloads, while alleviating constraints of premises based infrastructures.

A Healthier Tomorrow

Like many other industries, digital disruption is driving a revolution in healthcare. Organizations must recognize the market-driven urgency and accelerate digital transformation investments now, or risk losing the battle to digital leaders.

To learn how CenturyLink helps connect and protect the digital transformation of healthcare, schedule a 1:1 with us at HIMSS 2018.