The HCI Group was pleased to welcome Paddy Padmanabhan, CEO of Damo Consulting, a digital transformation and growth advisory firm that works with healthcare enterprises and tech firms. Paddy joined Ed to discuss their most recent book, “Healthcare Digital Transformation – How Consumerism, Technology and Pandemic are Accelerating the Future”. During the 30-minute session, Paddy and Ed engaged directly with our audience to discuss several key areas of focus in their recent book. Specifically, how the COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by shifting the focus and priorities of healthcare organizations to telehealth and virtual care models, and how to ensure strong foundations to enable future digital transformations.
The Pandemic has led to a shift in the Digital Maturity Model for Many Health Systems
“The reality of the healthcare market is that if you look at the 5,500 hospital that form part of the healthcare landscape today, over half are in Model 1 of Digital Maturity. This means health systems are using their EHR platform not only as the system of record, but also as the system of record for digital transformation. What that means is that enterprises that have these EHR systems are rolling out whatever is available in that single EHR platform and using this approach as their digital transformation strategy. That can be very limiting.”
During their discussion, Paddy and Ed noted that many health systems are moving toward the second level of the Digital Maturity Model, in which organizations look at best-in-class functionalities that may not be able available through a single EHR platform, but are available through an emerging ecosystem of health tech innovators, big technology firms, and specialized companies; the focus has become the integration all of these functionalities into EHR interfaces, and creating brand new experiences that are superior to what one can get simply by going with one single platform. That is a significant shift that we can take note as far as the post-pandemic is concerned.
Digital Patient Engagement and Remote Patient Monitoring have become Top Priorities
According to Paddy, digital patient engagement is now a top priority for all of healthcare. Prior to the pandemic, advances in patient engagement were coming along in a gradual fashion, but what the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards improved digital experiences, especially because healthcare delivery is now changing to a virtual care model. The need to better engage with patients digitally and provide them with better online experiences is a major focus for healthcare organizations and is driving investment in the industry today.
The pandemic has also led to changes in remote patient monitoring technology. While RPM was traditionally seen as a tool for managing chronic conditions like diabetes, RPM technology is being adapted more and more for primary care uses.
This has happened for several reasons. First, the pandemic has imposed restrictions on how much foot traffic hospitals and clinics can have on premise; second, RPM has become an a more economical option; third the technology has advanced rapidly enough to be able to handle the more varied demands of primary care.
Ensuring Strong Foundations in Digital Transformation
“Digital Transformation shouldn’t be treated simply as an IT project. Transformation has much more to do with culture and process. Technology is the easy part. There is a lot of unfinished business here, but the encouraging thing is that we’ve come a long way when it comes to virtual care and telehealth models, and we’ve come a long way when it comes to using technology for transforming healthcare. There is a lot of work ahead, but that is the exciting part for us to be in this field right now.”
Paddy believes that the ability to harness data, the ability to derive insights from data, and most importantly, the ability to use those insights to drive improved experiences for patients and improved healthcare outcomes will be front and center in the days and years to come. Health organizations will need to have strong data management and data analytics infrastructure to be successful in any future digital transformation. Ed notes that it is vital to leverage best practices and methodologies such as Agile and ITSM to build organizational creditability and ensure strong digital transformation capabilities are in place for future transformation efforts.