In my role at Memora Health, I feel super fortunate to have the opportunity to engage with and learn from some of our industry’s most transformational leaders every day. As we have emerged from the pandemic, it has become abundantly clear that the digital revolution isn’t tomorrow — it’s here now. And healthcare organizations everywhere are investing in new technologies to solve novel and increasingly complex challenges.
So much so that — in today's fast-paced healthcare landscape — digital health transformation has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have for providers seeking to enhance patient care, streamline processes, and improve overall operational efficiency.
Indeed, embracing digital technologies can drastically improve the way care is delivered and experienced. But the journey toward digital health transformation requires careful planning and strategic implementation.
As the digital playing field rapidly shifts, even the most seasoned healthcare leaders are confronting challenges in their journeys to operationalizing transformation. Here are a few strategies that can set you up for success.
1. Establish a comprehensive strategy that accounts for key stakeholder priorities
When you’re taking the leap to transition to a new digital technology, it can impact the entire organization. Even one operational change can affect several other workflows and processes — and, ultimately, the workplace environment.
For instance, introducing a new solution that doesn't integrate with existing technologies or workflows could result in unnecessary troubleshooting or double-documentation for clinical users — resulting in wasted time and inefficiencies. But it also might lead to more frustrated care teams and a reluctance to leverage new technologies.
That’s why the first crucial step in operationalizing digital health transformation is to establish a comprehensive strategy for including your stakeholders in the decision-making process.
For providers, this means consulting three principal groups: patients, clinicians, and staff. And to effectively understand and integrate perspectives from these cohorts, it’s essential to view them through the consumer lens — assessing their needs, their pain points, and how they navigate their experiences.
That way, your resulting strategy will align with the organization's overall goals and vision for healthcare delivery. This leads to defining clear objectives, identifying specific target areas for digital interventions, and assessing a realistic current state of digital readiness within your organization (e.g., your IT team’s current bandwidth).
“Many times when [health systems are] trying to develop solutions for people’s problems, we’re looking at it from our own perspective, in our own lens. That’s why a lot of things we try don’t end up solving the problem.” - Tarun Kapoor, MD, SVP and Chief Digital Transformation Officer at Virtua Health, Reimagining the Healthcare Journey for Today's Consumer
This collaborative approach will help to create a shared vision and establish a strong foundation for successful implementation.
2. Implement agile change management and integration practices
As helpful as successfully adopted digital health tools can be for clinicians and patients, the journey to get there isn’t easy. Even a well-planned integration can be disruptive. In fact, 70% of hospital-run IT pilots either fail or face significant challenges.
Beyond resource restrictions, this happens because digital health transformation innately involves significant changes in processes, workflows, and existing technologies — to which all stakeholders across the care continuum and established structures are already accustomed. Resisting change is both instinctual and systemic.
To ensure successful implementation, healthcare organizations need to have agile — yet structured — change management processes deployed during adoption. This requires an intentional strategy for effectively communicating with staff, one that prioritizes continuously listening to feedback and acknowledges reluctance as a natural part of the journey.
By actively involving and supporting staff members throughout the transformation process, organizations can foster a culture of adaptability and innovation, resulting in increased acceptance and enthusiasm for digital solutions.
It’s vital to select a healthtech vendor that provides you with all of the information and transparent data you’ll need to prove value to your stakeholders. Nobody expects every detail all at once. But having evidence-based information you can convey to anxious workers can help you ease concerns about the potential impact new technology will have on their daily workflows.
3. Start small so you can learn and pivot
Nothing sinks a well-planned digital technology implementation like an error-laden launch. And clinicians and staff are more likely to lose excitement about a prospective digital innovation with a disappointing start.
That’s why it’s important to remember to pilot your new digital health platform before rolling it out to the larger organization. Using a modest patient and clinician sample size, run a limited-time test to gauge satisfaction scores, salvaged working hours, technology performance, and the interoperability of the new digital health platform.
Memora Health specifically works with clients to pilot its Care Programs, collect metrics, and collaborate closely with organizational stakeholders to address any unique needs. This includes establishing an initial version tailored to your use, gathering and analyzing patient feedback, addressing any possible operational friction, and developing custom content for your care workflows.
A successful pilot shouldn’t be left to chance. So make sure to consider how your digital health technology vendor approaches partnerships before adopting a new innovation.
The crest of the digital health wave is only getting higher. The next several years will witness leaps and bounds in healthtech innovation. And having a sound adoption and implementation strategy can mean the difference between surfing the swell and wiping out.
Curious about what’s on the horizon for digital health? Check out our 2023 trends report with expert insights you must know!