Healthcare innovation: 4 key areas to address and how

The digital transformation of healthcare has been a complex process, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic when many organizations were forced to quickly adopt new technologies such as telemedicine, electronic medical records, and online scheduling systems. While these solutions were considered innovative, they often didn't address limits in the overall technology environment that contribute to the long-term improvement of patient outcomes.

This blog post will discuss the importance of strategic planning and innovating with purpose to address the following 4 needs: optimizing operating costs, promoting prevention, empowring healthcare professionals, and most importantly, improving the patient experience.  

The strategy

The first step is to diagnose the situation; why you want to innovate, where you want to go, and how you will do it. An innovation roadmap is a must-have for healthcare institutions, helping them efficiently budget and plan for the automation or digitalziation of several patient- and staff-facing processes. This is far more effective than isolated, one-off technology solutions that solve a specific issue but fall short of addressing the underlying causes. To "innovate with purpose," organizations will have to:

  • Engage technology experts with experience in the health sector and multidisciplinary work
  • Work with key areas of the organization to actively discover the points of friction patients and employees may encounter in the healthcare system.
  • Consider how organizational culture and the digital mentality of the organization’s leadership may impact effective innovation.
  • View innovation as a continuous process and one that requires continuous improvement. What is considered an added value today may become a commodity tomorrow.

Innovating toward value-based care

In a forward-thinking environment, a key aspect of innovation is value-based care, which aims to improve the overall health of the population by delivering high-quality, cost-effective care. Data analysis tools play a crucial role in this, as they allow for proactive and preventive care, rather than just reacting to patient visits or medical issues becoming more severe. 

Digital twins and immersive environments are two technologies that can help organizations move towards more comprehensive digital acceleration and value-based care models. Digital twins allow organizations to simulate and test scenarios in a virtual environment before implementing them in real life. Immersive environments, on the other hand, use VR and AR for a variety of purposes, such as training, mental health treatment, and rehabilitation.

In short, digital twins facilitate experimentation and understanding of how innovations will impact the organization, while immersive environments allow for a more proactive approach to addressing patient needs. Both technologies provide cost-effective solutions that increase access to care and accelerate transformation. 

Conclusion

As we work to modernize our healthcare systems, it's crucial that we view technology as a means of augmenting the work of healthcare professionals, rather than replacing them. To this end, every healthcare organization should allocate funding for innovation to support value-based care models, process optimization, tools for health professionals, and frictionless patient experiences. 

 

Matt Lawson is a Business Development Manager for Softtek's Healthcare and Insurance vertical. His work with digital acceleration teams has helped several important healthcare systems in the US continuously optimize their operations and enhance patient outcomes.

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