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Improving the quality of healthcare and access to healthcare while controlling costs as populations age and grow, life expectancy increases and public expenditure on healthcare is under pressure are a few of the main challenges for healthcare organizations across the globe.
Healthcare providers adopt EHR systems for typical digital transformation purposes in healthcare: enhanced patient care, efficiency improvement, saving time, minimizing (the risk of) errors and improving staff productivity.
Virtually all the players in the vast and complex healthcare ecosystem are stepping up their digitization and digital transformation efforts as a result of these and other challenges but they also see the opportunities in digitally transforming healthcare and invest more in digital health.
The ‘organization’ of healthcare is different across the globe and healthcare organizations are moving at different speeds, depending on country, legal framework, political agenda, individual organization, role in the healthcare ecosystem and the precise goals of digital transformation within each individual context: from enhancing patient-centricity in hospitals and improving workforce conditions to new ways of care, for instance remote health monitoring by leveraging cloud computing and IoT (the Internet of Things).
If you look at the vast healthcare ecosystem (with providers and payers as two key sub-ecosystems) and where digital technologies – with a clear purpose in any given context – fit in, you can wonder what digital transformation in healthcare even means?
Is it about leveraging digital technologies in novel ways to improve health? Is it about leveraging digital technologies in order to make healthcare more affordable and cost-effective (which is a universal need)? Is it about finding new revenue sources as healthcare does need to be funded? Is it the digital transformation of an entire industry in nations where healthcare tourism is seen as an importance source of revenue, among others in some countries which were more dependent on oil and are transforming to become service economies?
Is digital transformation also about the digitization of healthcare records (EHR, short for electronic health record, and EMR, short for electronic medical records, as the graphic below shows still a major investment area in the so-called digital health space and a topic we’ve tackled many times before)?
Is it about using Big Data for better healthcare? Is it about enhancing that patient-centricity, for instance by using EHR? About leveraging the Internet of Things in healthcare to enable individuals to improve their health, using those personal healthcare devices? Or rather about the Industrial Internet of Things component where we see remote healthcare (monitoring) as a key IoT use case? Maybe it’s about leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, robotics and new types of sensors to come up with better ways to give patients a better life with new or improved ‘tools’? Or the very funding and organization of healthcare ‘business models’?
Well, digital transformation in healthcare is about all that and more.
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