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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Digital Health Transformation Journey

By Supreet Hvr, RBEI Regional Business Responsibility, Robert Bosch LLC

Digital health initiatives have received a lot of focus since the pandemic. Solutions such as Telehealth, Remote patient monitoring, Mobile Health, Data-driven decision support are being adopted in the mainstream. Nontraditional players and startups are disrupting the healthcare business models. Unsustainable costs and technological shifts may render current business models obsolete.

Organizations are moving towards Digital health offerings. Digital health transformation is a challenge. I present here a broad road map for Digital health transformation based on my experience.

Image: courtesy Pexels.com

Identify the assets: The first step in our journey would be to identify the various assets. Typically, organizations have Data, Services, Processes, and Knowledge. These could be digitally transformed to derive higher value.

We can start by creating a MECE (Mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) list of all the assets. Assets can be identified based on factors such as organizational readiness, ease of use, return on investment, etc.

Digital transformation initiatives:  The next step is to identify the initiatives or programs. Predominantly digital initiatives will fall under categories as described.

Virtual care offerings:

Many services can be offered virtually. Consultation, counseling, patient monitoring, patient training, etc.

Offering them virtually makes them more reachable and affordable to the patient community. Implemented correctly they also have the potential to improve patient adherence and outcomes.

Improved Patient and Caregiver experiences:

Today we have a ubiquitous presence of mobile phones and internet connectivity. This allows us to offer a new improved care experience to both patients and caregivers. Mobile health applications such as collaboration, health tracking, easy information access, patient training, gamification to name a few. These experiences can be linked to professional services. Together they can be a powerful motivation for higher patient and caregiver engagement.

Intelligent Automation:

Data-driven and intelligent approaches are a key cog in Digital health transformation. Simplifying and standardizing processes can reduce administrative efforts. Technology-driven data collection techniques can improve reliability. Data connectivity and data sharing within and across organizations can help both administratively and clinically. Providers can rely on up-to-date information to make informed decisions. Adopting data-driven decision support systems can help in reducing oversights. We can adopt technologies for Fraud and Anomalies detection. This can protect the organization, patients and provide an improved overall experience.

Capitalization and Planning: Once the Digital health transformation initiatives are identified, we need to move towards planning the realization. Following key aspects must be addressed before proceeding.

Market & Competition:

It is important to evaluate the market and competition. Techniques like SOWT (Strength, Opportunity, Weakness, Threat), Benchmarking, etc. can be used. This will enable us to determine the value, potential risks, and mitigations

Investments & ROI:

We need to identify investments and sponsor for the digital transformation. There may be several sources of investment such as sponsoring department, organizational budget, an investor, etc.

we need to articulate the ROI (Return on Investment) for each of the investments.

Business processes:

Regulatory authorities have introduced newer options for organizations to monetize their digital offerings. Changes needed to the business processes must be evaluated. Long-term sustainability must also be planned.

Partners:

It is necessary to have the right partners for a successful digital health transformation. The partners must fill in the pieces of the puzzle. Partners could bring in technology services, clinical services, products that complete the digital offerings.

Digital Transformation Roadmap: The next step would be planning a road map for the Digital health transformation. The following key aspects must be considered when drawing a Digital transformation roadmap,

Organizational readiness:

It is important to determine the readiness of the organization. Techniques like Business Transformation Enablement Program can be used to identify transformation-related issues. The maturity of the business processes and organization may be inadequate. to support the transformation, a road map needs to be drawn to improve the maturity.

Transformation phases:

We need to identify the phases of Digital health transformation. This will enable us to better utilize the resources and limit the risks. As each phase is implemented the feedback from the earlier phase can be considered in the subsequent phases.

Implementation:

Implementation of the Digital health transformation may include new technologies, applications, migrations, change to business processes, user training. It will be important to onboard the right partners who can help in the implementation on time.

Rollout:

Rollout needs to be planned and executed meticulously. There may be several aspects of the existing business affected. Business processes may change, partners need to adapt, patients may be impacted. Steps must be planned and taken to avoid disruption and mitigate risk.

Enterprise digital health platform strategy: Offering digital solutions over a digital platform has a significant advantage. The following sections describe the considerations and advantages.

Enterprise-wide digital health platform strategy:

Consider multiple Digital transformation initiatives are taken up in a large organization. It can potentially develop into a situation where there is a zoo of technologies, different approaches to business processes. This can lead to higher costs and poor patient and caregiver experiences in the long term.

An Enterprise-wide digital platform strategy can ensure standardization. This will also promote reuse between various initiatives. In the long term, this will enable us to serve standard experiences and have sustainable costs.

Incremental development & compounding effect:

An enterprise platform does not have to be developed in a big bang fashion. Various increments can fit into the pieces of a puzzle to generate a larger platform over time. A larger vision must exist. When new solutions are rolled out, they can take advantage of existing solutions. The existing offering will also be enriched when newer solutions. This will lead to a compounding effect. This will further enhance the effectiveness of the Digital health transformation.

In conclusion, Digital health is a reality. Organizations will need to adapt to the changing landscapes and expectations. The digital health transformation journey is a complex process. I hope the above outline will help to get an initial handle on the Digital health transformation journey.

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