With digital transformation accelerating the pace of change, healthcare organizations must modernize the IT infrastructure to drive patient experience, improved outcomes and better support value-based care. Analysts from IDC Health Insights will be providing a series of thought leadership guest blogs on the state of digital business transformation for today’s healthcare providers and the key IT pillars to optimize the digital journey.

By Lynne Dunbrack

Healthcare organizations are under intense and mounting pressure to prioritize delivering value-based health, improving outcomes, and responding to consumerism. Consumers are becoming more tech savvy with their widespread adoption of mobile technology and use of social media to connect with friends and loved ones. They have also become accustomed to receiving a personalized experience when they interact with retailers and financial services firms and have witnessed industries disrupted through the creation of new business models brought about by the innovative use of technology and a sharing economy (e.g., AirBnB, Uber). As a result, they will expect and demand more from their interactions with payers and providers, especially digital native Millennial consumers.

According to IDC research, most healthcare organizations are just beginning their digital transformation journey, with 83 percent of providers and 80 percent of payers reporting that they are in the early stages.[i] IDC defines digital transformation as the “the application of 3rd Platform–related technologies to fundamentally improve all aspects of society.”

DX is not simply a matter of modernizing the technological underpinnings of existing healthcare and IT systems. Instead, it is a paradigm that transforms decision making with technology by combining new sources of innovation and creativity to enhance experiences and improve performance. It also uses information to create an evidence-based culture and more effective knowledge workers by amplifying their productivity. Therefore, the disruptions and opportunities DX presents for healthcare are tremendous.

Acceleration of third platform technologies (mobile, cloud, big data and analytics) combined with innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, augmented reality/virtual reality, 3D printing, and next-generation security will play a vital role for emerging digital transformation use cases. Adoption of these new technologies will lead to profound changes in processes, workflows, and expectations of healthcare organizations and their stakeholders. The widespread use of big data and anlytics solutions along with AI and machine learning to glean insights from massive data sets will enable healthcare organizations to create an evidence-based culture.

In turn, knowledge worker producivity will increase significantly as a result of using information more effectively. IDC Health Insights predicts that by 2021, 20 percent of healthcare and 40 percent of life science organizations will achieved 15 to 20 percent productivity gains through the adoption of AI technology.

Today’s healthcare IT environment must be more agile to respond to the demands for rapid innovation and digital transformation. Medical technology advances and the proliferation of IoT and mobile devices will require more intelligent compute capabilties at the edge. Legacy infrastructure simply cannot keep up with the pace of change.  The demand for a more modern IT infrastructure is on the rise because it ensures the highest level of data availablity, reliaility, and cost efficiency.

Workloads can be moved to the appropriate cloud environment – private, public, dedicated, or hybrid cloud – increasing speed to value and insights. Secure access to health information from anywhere at anytime is critical for better care coordination and collaboration across the enterprise especially as healthcare organiations extend care beyond the four walls of the institution into the community and their patients home. Healthcare organizations that invest wisely to modernize their IT infrastructure will be well positioned for digital transformation.

To get started, contact a Centurylink expert today.

[i] Source: 2017 Vertical IT & Communications Survey, IDC, April, 2017

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