Digital Transformation in Healthcare

It is probably difficult to find a sector particularly within public services that has benefited more from advancements in digital technology. So many improvements have been made in real healthcare through increased data analytics, automation, telemedicine and wearable technology.

Virtual appointments are now possible and the confidence that patients have in the new digital systems is very strong. You could be excused for thinking that Digital Transformation has been achieved in the Healthcare sector.

But Digital Transformation involves more than the provision, uptake and adoption of new technology (even when it is extremely positive). In his book The Seven Principles of Digital Business Strategy Professor Niall McKeown defines Digital transformation like this:-

“Digital is a synonym for the pace of change that occurs in today’s world driven by the rapid adoption of new technology.”

“Transformation in this context is how an organisation is built to change, innovate and reinvent rather than simply enhance and support the traditional methods of its industry.”

The question that the Healthcare sector must address is: Have their Strategy and Culture kept pace with the rapid adoption in technology?

Nearly every sector nowadays must deal with the “Amazon Impact” where we expect the personalisation and almost immediate level of service that Amazon provide through their digital systems. Such a level of service requires culture change from the old inside–out model of the industrial age to an outside-in model for the digital age. In his book Digital Lipstick on a Legacy Pig Vaasu Gavarasana says that “Simply speaking, digital transformation is the process that delivers customer or human centricity – its realigns business around the customer/patient/human journey”.

Digital Transformation

It is essential that as much or even more effort is put into Strategy development and Culture as is being put into the adoption of technology. The magic ingredient is Culture – no organisation or sector will be able to demonstrate that they have digitally transformed unless their culture has transformed.

Strategy and Culture are inextricably linked – as the culture must reflect the strategy and the objectives of the particular healthcare organisation. In his book Good Strategy / Bad Strategy Richard Rumelt uses a medical analogy to describe strategy development. He says – There needs to be a Diagnosis of the problem[s], Guiding Policy as to how to treat them and then Coherent Action to deliver the cure. There also needs to be a framework – a Digital Transformation Framework so that strategy and culture, communication and engagement, process and innovation, data and analytics and technology can be properly coordinated.

At Ionology we have developed the only peer reviewed Digital Transformation Framework, which ensures that all aspects of the digital transformation journey are coordinated. It is an active framework allowing real time data to influence outcomes. It provides the framework for the articulation of the strategy, which along with specific digital transformation training is the means of developing a digital age culture.


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