The digital hospital to meet demands of active, tech-savy consumers
Digital transformation is a recurring theme in both general and specialized media all over the world. All sectors of the economy and society are being impacted, to a greater or lesser extent, by a wave of transformative change that all of the major newspapers, magazines and information websites around the world are talking about. Of course, digital transformation has also reached the hospital sector, sometimes even without the actors themselves being terribly aware of the impact and depth of the coming changes.
The potential impact of technology on healthcare systems
High-quality, sustainable healthcare depends on IT-enabled services and a digital platform, but healthcare systems are still unclear on where to focus investment, what technologies provide the greatest benefits for patients and healthcare providers, and the return on investment.
Benefits of digital transformation in health care:
Some areas of health care are ready for digital transformation. By focusing on these aspects of the enterprise, executives can deliver more value to customers and patients and see ROI from their digital transformation efforts.
1. Finding the right doctor
One of the biggest challenges in health care system is matching patients with the right service and the right provider. That’s an important issue considering that finding the right doctor can be a life-or-death matter.
And yet customers sorely lack technology that will help them make more calculated evaluations on their health-care provider.
The entire industry needs to provide more information to patients so they can make informed decisions about their physicians. When we use technology to give people quantitative and qualitative information about providers in their area, we empower them to make better choices about their health.
The rise of the on-demand economy has given unprecedented access to people today. Customers could, for example, have an Uber car waiting in front of their house within five minutes of placing an order. Finding the right physician in your area, unfortunately, is not as easy. The health care industry has not quite caught up with the on-demand economy yet.
People are busy and rely on their mobile phones to get things done. The health care industry has a huge opportunity to drive innovation so that more patients can access physicians using phones and other digital technologies. Being able to see a doctor—whether it be for a house call or by setting up a clinic appointment—should be as seamless as ordering an Uber car.
Social media has increased expectations for customer support. When a customer is not happy with an airline, for instance, he or she can tweet about it and somebody from that company will (or should) respond. Customers expect companies to address their complaints almost instantaneously—especially on public forums like social media.
Many companies have caught on and include social media as a customer support channel. Doing so upholds accountability and encourages better, faster customer service.
The health care industry lacks tools to drive real accountability. When customers book an appointment with a physician, for instance, there is no way for them to know the success—or failure—rate of that health care provider ahead of time. It’s no wonder patients consistently identify poor service as an issue.
Health care companies need a standard set of procedures for handling patient feedback. As business leaders, we need to drive higher patient-care quality. I believe that a focus on digital transformation can help improve health care products and services.
4. Financial transparency
Technology could help the industry give customers more information about health care expenses. Right now, when consumers get a treatment, it is often unclear whether recommended procedures are actually necessary. There is also a lack of consistency for health care treatments: the same service may vary in cost from state to state—and even from one hospital to the next. In many cases, patients do not know how much a procedure costs until it’s done and they have received the bill.
To truly help patients live longer, healthier lives, there is need to create a system of engagement. Physicians today know patients based on a hand ful of questions. A doctor could spend a few minutes with a patient in any given year.
The industry needs an always-on approach to patient engagement. Digital transformation is part of the solution. It can help physicians get more information about their patients. This customer-centric approach to technology can also drive innovations that change patient behavior. Using data to share timely and relevant information with patients, as just one example, will revolutionize the services we provide.