Why is digital transformation important in healthcare?
For decades the healthcare industry has been long overdue for a revolution, given its reliance on legacy systems and processes. Compared to the retail, manufacturing, and finance sectors, healthcare has slowly implemented technological advancements across systems and processes. For the most part, the industry has been immune to disruption and innovation, likely due to the industry's culture and complexity. However, as times change, new challenges arise, and old ones worsen, there's a sense of urgency for the industry and its procedures to evolve.
As concerns rise regarding regulations and security, high operating costs, and the delivery of quality care, the healthcare industry must act to overcome its many challenges. For example, in 2021, healthcare cyber attacks tripled from three years ago, affecting nearly 50 million people. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated change and digitalization. The sudden influx of patients led to severe staffing shortages and burnout, which continues as health systems rely on costly contract labor to fill the shortage gaps. Telemedicine usage has also increased since the pandemic's onset and has stabilized at roughly 38x higher than pre-COVID levels.
Digital transformation is essential to revolutionize healthcare and to sustain and improve current conditions. Adopting technologies in various functional areas forges a path to transform everything from how health systems operate to healthcare accessibility and equity, patient and staff satisfaction, the privacy and security of patient information, clinical innovation, and more.
How can healthcare benefit from digital transformation?
Healthcare digital transformation is needed to revolutionize every aspect of the industry. It enables workflow optimization, enhanced security, and increased patient satisfaction providing several benefits to patients and organizations.
For patients, innovative technology adoption enables:
- Higher patient satisfaction and engagement
- Personalized healthcare and treatment recommendations
- New and expanded methods of healthcare access, such as telemedicine
- More in-depth use of patient data for predictive outcomes, preventative medicine, and personalized and improved treatment
- Expanded patient monitoring, data, and communication using mobile apps and wearable technology
- Better communication between patients and practitioners
- Improved quality of care and patient outcomes
For health systems and staff, digital solutions facilitate:
- Enhanced efficiency of facility operations
- Revenue growth and improved cost efficiencies
- Increased agility and scalability around technology
- High team and employee satisfaction
- Better data-sharing and collaboration with health plans and other health systems
- Enhanced collaboration between healthcare practitioners
- More robust cybersecurity efforts and strategies
How does technology support healthcare digital transformation?
Top technology trends help healthcare organizations enhance operations, improve security and data management, and enrich patient experiences and outcomes. Here's what technology trends and digital innovations are driving change in the healthcare landscape:
Automation heightens the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and workflows. From robotic process automation (RPA) and business process automation (BPA) to workflow and intelligent process automation, this technology trend helps streamline and automate manual, time-consuming healthcare processes. As a result, it plays a significant part in revamping the industry and improving medical practices, patient satisfaction, data extraction, patient communication, billing, and more.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI can often complete tasks once performed by humans at a fraction of the cost and with fewer errors and has several advantages over traditional analytics and clinical decision-making. Implementing AI in healthcare can mitigate medical errors and misdiagnosed illnesses, improve electronic health record (EHR) data management, expand healthcare access through chatbots, support drug and vaccine creation, and more.
Machine Learning (ML)
ML is a type of artificial intelligence that can help healthcare providers take a more predictive approach to care delivery and patient-based processes. This includes automating medical billing, developing clinical practice guidelines, and clinical decision support. ML applications can also improve diagnosis, reduce costs, help develop new treatments, and improve care.
Big Data in healthcare can lead to life-saving outcomes, reduced treatment costs, and better forecasting. By collecting large amounts of data, health systems can gain valuable insights into various information, such as staffing needs, possible patient admission rates, preventable diseases, and more. Predictive analytics then use data-driven insights to forecast future events, improve patient outcomes, and enhance decision-making.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT-enabled wearable devices facilitate remote patient health monitoring and telehealth appointments. Physicians can monitor patients' health in real-time and collect data to influence better treatment plans and outcomes. For patients, wearable devices allow them to track their heart rates, blood pressure, and more, which can help them be proactive during a medical event.
Cloud technology helps practitioners and patients by making medical record-sharing safer and more accessible. In addition, it automates data processing and supports the creation and maintenance of telehealth apps. Implementing cloud computing in healthcare also accelerates clinical analyses and care processes and reduces staff and network equipment costs.
Explore digital solutions for your organization.
Adopting technology is no longer an option–it's necessary to help healthcare organizations overcome their challenges and achieve growth. Prioritizing these technological advancements opens the door to new opportunities and better patient and employee experiences, enabling healthcare organizations to cut costs, enhance efficiency, improve performance, and increase collaboration.
Check out our webinar to learn how MuleSoft Automation can empower your organization to deliver connected patient experiences, streamlined processes, and better outcomes through accessible solutions.