Independent digital health applications, like ZocDoc and MyFitnessPal, are disrupting the healthcare game. With digital maturity directly corresponding to the financial performance of an organization (and providing a competitive edge), it is surprising that the healthcare industry is lagging other industries when it comes to digital transformation. How can care providers catch up?
The first step is to understand what patients want, and sort through what is myth and what is reality. You may think that you have to be cutting edge, providing innovative platforms that wow the crowd. In truth, what patients most desire from their healthcare providers is relatively simple and straightforward. Patients want the ability to schedule appointments, request prescription refills and access their medical records online. Only 11% of providers have proprietary mobile applications that satisfy even one of these three digital health capabilities2. In addition, patients want these self-services to be easy and seamless, and in reality, many companies are not following through.
Once you understand what your audience wants from you, take a look inward and see what resources you already have. You may be surprised by what you can do with existing capabilities. For example, you may be collecting data and using it for internal applications, like business intelligence and analytics. However, a lot of this data can be utilized for external applications. Think through what you already have and see if you can fill any gaps in the patient experience this way.
Now it's time to prioritize. Things to include in the discussion would be
- What is the estimated investment to get this built?
- What is the estimated demand that the application would fill?
- What value would be created with this project? And;
- Is it a fundamental improvement of a core service?
You know what comes next: Execute and deliver. Remember to keep in mind that users demand lightning-fast, always-on applications. Don't leave IT housing and infrastructure as an afterthought. Incorporating that decision into the early phases of the project can help you come up with a high-performance AND cost effective solution. Think outside the box on what you've always done, and make sure you don't fall victim to myths that cloud your vision. Check out our whitepaper that explores common myths associated with colocation for healthcare IT.
The digital transformation never rests. You'll want to continually add new services that build value for your consumers. Google didn't get built in a day. Start by creating high-demand online services and doing it really well. But continue to innovate and drive towards digitalizing the patient experience. When people think of the healthcare industry, the last thing that comes to mind is "convenient". But by providing patients with on-demand, self-service tools, we can drive towards a future where the process is a whole lot easier.
- 2018 CIO Agenda: Healthcare Provider Industry Insights - Gartner
- The Era of Living Services - Accenture