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The unprecedented acceleration of health innovation
Posted by The HCI Group
on March 15, 2021 at 9:00 AM

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Since early 2020, COVID has created a significant disruption in all of our lives as it rapidly spread throughout the U.S. There is great optimism around the recent advancements and approvals of drug development which has allowed new vaccines to be available in record time to help mitigate the devastating effects of this pandemic.

The pandemic has emphasized the importance of health systems to have a digital transformation strategy that promotes an entire virtual healthcare ecosystem and addresses the “new normal.” Without question, accelerated innovation has been required to assist healthcare systems to react to the COVID pandemic. It seemed that practically overnight healthcare systems and patients embraced telehealth, remote patient monitoring and looked for better ways to conduct patient care outside of hospital walls.

What does the future hold for healthcare?

Additional numbers of hospitals will add great focus on digital transformation strategies to improve how they engage with their patients. The government has released robust policies and pilot projects around the concepts of hospital at home. Expect items like virtual eICUs, remote patient monitoring, and more types of care that can be performed outside of the hospital to be commonplace soon. Using the HCI Group as a reference point, we witnessed no less than 10-years of innovation implemented in just 10-months due to the pandemic. It is central for all to understand that consumers will be driving healthcare changes in 2021 and beyond.

Embracing the new normal within the health industry

The demand for more innovation will continue to lead the way. Few people see the status quo as acceptable in the healthcare industry. Healthcare organizations are re-evaluating where to invest strategically to ensure they are doing what is best for their patients. We are seeing a growing interest in automation, which can help augment staff or allow key personal to spend more time interacting with the patient. Additionally, there is an increase in promoting accessible and equitable care points, such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital devices, home-based care, and wearables.  


The pandemic has forced new ways of thinking that have generated tremendous innovations within our industry. Those who once saw digital transformation as a luxury are now embracing it with the attitude of “We did it, it’s working, and we’ll continue to do more.” Several measures and services that were temporarily put in place to address urgent needs will soon become permanent solutions for healthcare services as the pandemic diminishes.


Tips for Health Systems going through digital transformation

First and foremost, our advice for health systems going through digital transformation is to ask yourselves:

1. Do you have a digital roadmap or digital charter?
2. Who is in charge of creating and executing that digital roadmap?

Currently, hospitals fall in two buckets. The first are digitally advanced transformation hospitals who have spent a lot of time and resources on digital innovation, perhaps hired a chief digital officer and have already drafted a digital charter. They have spent significant effort on their digital strategy approved by their Board. However, these organizations are the exception. Most hospitals are not this far along in their digital transformation journey. Most are doing small parts. A little automation here and there, perhaps a patient portal. They might be looking at different strategic initiatives, but they do not have a digital charter to guide them. They do not have an appointed Chief Digital Officer. Digital might be owned by IT or talked about on the executive team, but there is no sole entity responsible for managing and executing. Digital is much more than just IT. It is an organizational change in the way hospitals think and engage with employees, patients and families. It is imperative that hospitals appoint a leader and develop a digital roadmap. Hospitals survived in the past without a defined strategy. Going forward, a comprehensive digital strategy is critical to success

Need expert advice? 

If you are looking for support with your digital transformation strategy and implementation, The HCI Group is here to help. Our cross-functional strategy team is comprised of former CIO’s, clinicians, experts in patient engagement and human-centered design hailing from multiple-industries. We offer complete sophisticated digital strategies at a fixed price and in 12 weeks or less. The HCI Group have years of experience and knowledge in helping health systems worldwide with their digital innovation. Get in contact today if you would like to know more.