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His recent research has focused on the future of health, health equity, and health care financial transformation. See something interesting? Simply select text and choose how to share it:. The COVID pandemic was an accelerator of shifting consumer preferences and care-delivery innovation.
See how, by embracing a digital mindset, health systems can transform their relationship with consumers. The COVID pandemic accelerated the convergence of several trends in the health care industry, particularly consumers prioritizing convenience and access to care. Leading health systems view digital transformation as a way to become more consumer-friendly while simultaneously changing their operations, culture, and use of technology.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions collaborated with the Scottsdale Institute to better understand how health systems are using digital to transform health care. To understand the digital transformation journey of health systems, we engaged Scottsdale Institute members in multipronged research: We conducted a survey of technology executives of 25 health systems, interviewed five health system technology leaders, and facilitated a moderated panel discussion of technology leaders from three health systems.
We found that:. Our recent health care consumer survey findings show that consumers are increasingly exercising agency, engagement, and control over most decisions about their health and well-being. Over the past two decades, many hospitals and health systems adopted digital technologies in their various functional areas. In many cases, however, they took a piecemeal approach to numerous initiatives—from installing electronic health record EHR systems to building apps to trying disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence AI —while remaining largely focused on the same business and customer models.
Virtual health and care delivered in the home became the model of not only necessity but also preference. But this change was not as sudden as it might look. The pandemic was an accelerator of several trends, including shifting consumer preferences, rapidly evolving technologies, newer talent models, and clinical innovation.
In the face of these trends, as hospitals and health systems work toward adapting their businesses, a well-defined approach toward digital technologies will likely be at the core of this transformation strategy.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions collaborated with the Scottsdale Institute to better understand how health systems are using digital transformation to help future-proof their organizations. We conducted a multipronged research project, engaging with large- and mid-sized health system members of the Scottsdale Institute between May and July that included:. Health systems acknowledge the acceleration in consumer agency and activation in the last few years.
This is consistent with our recent research on opportunities for consumer-facing technologies in health systems to build a better health care experience. Threats to cybersecurity are one of the biggest challenges health systems have faced amid rapid digitalization in the last few years.
Since the onset of the pandemic, health care facilities have been among the top targets for ransomware attacks and will likely continue due to the large amount of personal-sensitive data.
As consumers become the center of digital transformation efforts, privacy and security of patient information are among the top digital priorities for health systems. In our survey, cybersecurity was among the top three investment priorities today and also in the next 3 years.
Interviewees also discussed how their cybersecurity units worked hand in hand with digital transformation teams to ensure greater transparency and ownership. Without a matched focus on cyber, health systems open themselves to additional risks as they increase digital activities. In addition, taking a nonconventional approach toward user experience, akin to consumer technology companies, was a recurring theme for interviewees and roundtable panelists.
For example, one of the interviewees mentioned how digital technology is aiding more real-time feedback from patients, and they do not have to wait for months to get results from regulatory reporting e.
This quick feedback obviously helps resolve consumer issues much more rapidly than previous nondigital solutions. We also asked our survey respondents how they planned to achieve the transformation—what technologies they were investing in now and what they planned for the next few years to transform their business and customer models.
Health system interviewees corroborated these are top investment priorities. They said their focus is on building unified data and business intelligence BI capabilities. This forms a strong base for real-time business analytics, predictive analytics, and AI.
One interviewee noted they need to focus on the entire technology spectrum, not just on next-in-class technologies. For them, better communication technologies for their call centers are just as important an investment as AI pilots. For Atrium Health, a North Carolina-based integrated health system, the pandemic acted as a catalyst for their digital transformation efforts.
Atrium Health, like many health systems, ramped up its virtual health capabilities last year owing to the pandemic. Awan said that as the impact of the pandemic tapers off, one of the priorities for Atrium would be to not lose momentum toward virtual health and improve focus on better patient and caregiver experiences.
He discussed how Atrium looks at virtual health holistically, with well-being, remote monitoring, and care management being as important as virtual visits.
To ensure a better patient and caregiver experience, Atrium is deploying technologies such as chatbots to better understand consumer expectations. Atrium is layering predictive analytics and AI at several patient touchpoints to understand and preempt consumer needs. As Mr. Digital transformation means something different to every health system, every stakeholder. However, most survey respondents and interviewees agree that it is more than just transferring paper processes to a digital environment.
Digital transformation is a new way to deliver care, improve processes, and meet the well-being needs of consumers. Deloitte defines digital transformation as the use of digital technologies to radically improve the performance or reach of an organization.
In a digitally transformed business, digital technologies enable improved processes, engaged talent, and new business models. This can take significant time and can expect scrutiny of efforts.
It therefore requires a thoughtful approach to ensure alignment with end goals while also demonstrating value along the way. Then, I would have said, [we would be completely integrated] 5 years from where we started. While survey respondents were at different stages in the digital transformation journey, none of them said they were close to an ideal digital state.
Slightly more than half of respondents said they have 3 or more years left until completing their digital transformation. Expansion of opportunities for digital transformation has made the journey longer than they had initially expected, according to some health system interviewees. As these health systems progress further into their longer-term strategies, they are realizing that they are still at the beginning of their digital transformation journey, and that this journey is not just about digital technologies but about transforming health care as a whole.
They also discussed a need to create frequent checkpoints to measure the value of the initiatives—rather than waiting until the completion of the initiatives to measure ROI—because it is such a lengthy journey. Organizations should consider setting goals for specific milestones at different stages to ensure value at various stages and check whether they are on course for end objectives.
UWH, one of the top academic medical centers in the country, has been at the forefront of integrating digital into their organizational strategy over the last few years. Digital is helping UWH transform itself organizationally, and as Mr. Health care leaders face several challenges on their transformation journey.
Data quality and access and talent were major barriers to digital transformation for survey respondents figure 3. Budget is also important. Survey respondents, interviewees, and panelists shared how they are addressing these challenges. We are trying to reduce that. Interviewees underscored the importance that organizational leadership understands and supports digital transformation efforts and follows through with appropriate resources, staffing, and decision-making authority.
This allows digital transformation leaders to think outside the box, speed up product development cycles, and change organizational culture around digital. We have to be partners with other teams but having a separate entity specific governance for digital transformation was a key to success. Similarly, interviewees stressed how important change management is in the process of digital transformation.
Without coordination and communication across teams, implementation becomes much more difficult. Because multiple teams, including digital transformation, IT, cybersecurity, innovation, clinical, and front office, can be involved in consumer-facing initiatives, a governance process should be in place to prioritize projects and give all stakeholders a shared understanding of goals.
Faith-based SCL Health has been providing health care services to communities in Colorado, Montana, and Kansas for several decades now. When Mr.
He created an ITDS leadership team that owns all ITDS initiatives across the organization and partners with functional leaders such as the chief medical officer and chief marketing officer on the governance committee. This has helped accelerate planning and implementation of diverse ITDS efforts.
Leadership and governance are crucial to all digital transformation initiatives and, as Mr. Health systems recognize that digital transformation is essential to improving health care and strengthening customer relationships.
It is more than just investments in technology—it results in changes in organizational culture and employee engagement; it is an enterprise investment that requires enterprisewide participation. To move forward digitally, many leading health systems are embracing six key principles:. The impact of digital transformation will be felt across all aspects of health care, helping enable easier access to care, improving quality, and decreasing the cost of care.
Consumers can connect quickly and conveniently with their preferred provider. Change your Analytics and performance cookie settings to access this feature. Wendy Gerhardt provided invaluable guidance on shaping the project, and helped editing and reviewing the paper. This study would not have been possible without the participants who graciously agreed to take part in the survey, interviews, and the panel discussion.
We thank them for being generous with their time and insights. Amid uncertainty and change, health care stakeholders are looking for new ways to transform the journey of care.
By focusing on the differentiated needs of plans and providers, our US Health Care practice helps clients transform uncertainty into possibility, and rapid change into lasting progress.
Chuck Appleby United States. Chuck Appleby Editor-in-chief Chuck Appleby is editor-in-chief at Scottsdale Institute, where he has been involved in writing, communications, and the publication of thought leadership content for nearly 30 years. John Hendricks United States. In operationally excellent organizations, the employee of the year is the best team player and peer recognition is the best complement.
Organizations that are market leaders in operational excellence must meet industry-level standards in the other two value disciplines—product differentiation and customer responsiveness. Operational excellence is really about achieving process reliability through continuous process improvement. Avedis Donabedian proposed the structure-process-outcomes framework to achieve operational excellence.
Only by putting the right structures in place with effective and reliable processes can the best outcomes be achieved. When outcomes are measured and followed closely, processes can be evaluated and changed or modified, when necessary and as appropriate, in order to produce even better outcomes [ 32 ]. Processes refer to how care is provided in the delivery system—for example, how different providers interact and work together to take care of patients.
Several health care systems have organized the structural elements of their delivery system using a systems engineering approach. The industrial engineering literature would describe an individual hospital as a macrosystem consisting of multiple, individual microsystems and mesosystems Fig. The Institute of Medicine suggested that focusing on how small clinical, unit-based teams function and interact with other unit-based teams will lead to transformational change of the overall health care delivery system in its report, Crossing the Quality Chasm [ 35 ].
The business school professor, James Brian Quinn, noted that the top performing Fortune companies all focused on their smallest replicable units, i. In addition, senior leaders, including the chief executive officer and members of the board of trustees, were trained in quality improvement and held hospital leaders accountable for improving safety, patient-family experience, and outcomes [ 54 , 55 ].
Clinical microsystems appear to be another key driver of successful transformational change [ 12 , 14 , 16 , 49 ], especially when the clinical microsystems are led by empowered, accountable clinical leaders who are trained in process improvement. Front-line leaders will be in the best position to fully know and understand how their individual microsystem functions best. Front-line leaders are ideally positioned to monitor key processes at the unit level and should be trusted to make the right decisions on how best to improve process reliability in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Only through process reliability can excellence in operations be achieved. It then follows that operational excellence leads to improved outcomes. Quality healthcare is a complex system of people and processes. When they work effectively together, health care organizations are capable of great clinical outcomes, patient, family, and employee experiences. This complexity requires that clinical leaders and managers and their line employees take full ownership of care, integrating all of the system knowledge and capability in direct service to the patient.
Structuring an organization to enable the line to fully own the outcome produces results. Being collaborative across traditional health care boundaries ensures ones outcome is sustainable. The relationship between physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, patients, and families is a critical component of success in any operationally excellent organization.
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