Healthcare providers and patients complain about the state of health information technology (HIT) tools. Is this just a matter of not enough healthcare providers being involved? I don’t think so.
We can debate how many providers are involved and the value they bring, but the digitization of healthcare can’t be only about the doctor’s work or how healthcare processes work today. Patient-centric has to become what we do, not a term we use. The focus must move to the patient, who directly controls more than 60 percent of healthcare costs. New processes must also be value-focused and data-driven. We need evidence-based healthcare operation. New processes must account for healthcare delivery, and health support moving from brick and mortar to mobile first (i.e. virtual care) and being centered on the patient, not just “patient-centric.”
To enable this approach, the healthcare community—the entire healthcare community—needs to take a different approach to health IT. From a value-focused and patient-centric perspective, the people who will use evolving platforms should define the business value, the process that should be expected and the tools needed to build a successful business strategy. This means more than providers and increasing influence by the patient.
This includes assessing whether staff and the patient are willing to use and adapt the tools best suited to support their engagement. Relative value also needs to be assessed, as edge-use cases or current use cases often will not apply in the future. They could impact the technology selected or drive up cost—which, of course, impacts value.
So if it’s a matter of adding more capabilities and features, that won’t be enough. Multiple tools may not provide the same value if they are not used by staff and/or patients. The value-centered solution is as much based upon the business objective and the smarter implementation of policy, process and change management.
Organization must start with a vision of the future and an enterprise strategy to move effectively. Change is hard. Change without clear purpose is waste. Change will also entail creating a culture that can accept continuous change to evolve to meet the rapid pace of change in IT, as well as in patient engagement, data and analytics and the healthcare reimbursement system.
One very important note: the enterprise strategy should list outcomes expected from that strategy, including the business processes, policy changes and human tolerance for any change in stakeholders and leadership, as well as available capital. These are risks, just as IT adds risk.
IT tools selected for use and their sequence of deployment will determine the ultimate strategic success. Each decision and action impacting the next just like a rock skipping across the surface of the water. Organizations must determine which platform and tools can support there defined strategic needs, along with the total cost of implementation and the expected ROI.
The organization has to recognize that the technology, regulatory, policy and financing landscapes are constantly shifting. Strategic planning is important, but all plans change (following first contact with the enemy). Part of the strategy must be to set way-points to assess whether the strategy is being productively applied, and aligns to the vision of accountable care and value-based initiatives—as well as the consumerization and digitalization of health and healthcare.
Let’s close with some overall observations for Digital Transformation:
Start with a future vision and align strategy from a business/outcome perspective.
The business of health and healthcare involves the patient, so act with the patient’s interests first.
The entire community has to be on the same page for effective strategy, action and reevaluation.
Outcomes, business, process and technology enablement can accelerate innovation and goal-achievement.
The roadmap for future agility and adaptation is built around value-focused outcomes as the guiding principal, with equal drivers being business, process, policy and technology development.
As always, I welcome your feedback. What do you think of these ideas and direction?