Communications Blog • 7 MIN READ

HIMSS 22: Digital transformation and patient innovation in healthcare

Written by Mark Goetz

The HIMSS health information and technology event occurred in Orlando earlier this month. Hundreds of diverse participants, from tech giants and world-renowned healthcare and innovative thought leaders to start-ups, providers, and payers, connected for a week of panel discussions, presentations, educations sessions, and exhibits.

Every year, this influential conference provides valuable insights and solutions for reshaping the future of health and wellness for everyone.

This year, two key trends emerged, highlighting the transformation taking place within the healthcare industry:

  1. Digital health platforms are accelerating the digital transformation
  2. The patient experience is an area of competitive advantage

Download a copy of our research report for an in-depth look at Hospitals and Health Systems in a Hybrid World

Trend #1: Digital and hybrid health platforms are accelerating the digital transformation

The global pandemic had a monumental effect on the healthcare sector. It forced the rapid implementation of new technology and accelerated changes in the way organizations approach care, shifting almost overnight from traditional in-person settings to new ways of digitally connecting with patients and caregivers. Healthcare professionals had to reinvent their care strategies from digital front doors to full-blown telehealth solutions.

At the same time, patient expectations evolved. Not only were consumers awakened to the vulnerability associated with disruption, but they also became more digital-centric and self-reliant with technology. For patients, this meant embracing digital health solutions and deviating from what was once comfortable to access healthcare during the pandemic.

Lastly, the pandemic enabled fresh insights. Change became the only constant, one that created a broader view of what was unsatisfactory about old systems and traditions, healthcare included. Digital and hybrid health solutions not only proved what was possible, it started an expectation that hospitals and health systems could, and should, embrace the advancements made.

The acceleration of the digital transformation in healthcare – spurned by virtual/hybrid health solutions – created a change in culture, which, in turn, ultimately created a shift in perspective from a traditional patient to the patient-as-a-customer. As a result, we can clearly see the urgent need for innovation in healthcare.

There’s no doubt that digital and hybrid health platforms positively impacted the digital transformation in healthcare. But as Dr. Nensa, Sr. Consultant & Radiologist, University Hospital Essen, pointed out, “Healthcare is extremely complex, and Healthcare IT has had, and still has, inefficiencies in operations.”

Today, the various new applications rapidly adopted to help healthcare providers, in turn, placed more pressure on IT professionals to support hybrid operational and clinical processes. Crucial for this digital transformation is intelligent, integrated systems that can provide a basis for communication that combines knowledge, ease of use that feels natural, and a personal connection.

It’s important to leverage technology investments to address immediate needs and be a platform for more effective engagement and experience strategies.

Trend #2: The patient experience is a new battleground for competitive advantage

The knock-on effect of entering a new digital era in healthcare is patients now expect their experiences to be nothing less than convenient, efficient, and intuitive. Clinical outcomes remain a priority, but now patients are looking for exceptional engagement and experiences with strong clinical outcomes.

As a result, patient experience has become a competitive battleground for healthcare providers, where they’re expected to deliver new value and set new standards. The healthcare industry is adjusting from its provider-centered roots to a more appropriate patient-centered future. At a high level, patients now expect:

  • Organizations to understand their unique needs and expectations
  • Organizations to demonstrate empathy
  • Consistent interactions across the entire process of engagement

Healthcare organizations have been developing patient-engagement strategies for decades. But now, organizations are looking for ways to use technology investments as a catalyst to drive better patient experiences.

Today, patient experience is a top priority for most healthcare CEOs, and digital engagement is helping to facilitate this.

Planning for the future of healthcare

The healthcare industry is drastically different than a few years ago. Now, hospitals and health systems must determine how to adapt to the needs of today while strategically positioning for the future.

To that end, the following are three core areas organizations should consider in their digital transformation strategy:

Data is at the forefront of healthcare technology

Healthcare technology has grown in multiple ways, with data key to this growth. Today, healthcare organizations are focusing on a more collaborative approach to data – like system integrations and data harmonization – and finding ways to make it actionable in a centralized location.

Medicine is no longer a clinical science just supported by data. Today, healthcare is moving to a field defined as a clinical science in collaboration with data science. Patient data is one of the most important drivers of digital transformation. Unlocking the insights contained in patient genomic as well as phenotypic information is extremely important to the entire healthcare ecosystem, including patients, providers, payers, and the life sciences sector.

Collaboration is essential

The issues and challenges facing today’s healthcare industry are massive and complex. Collaboration at all levels, including IT, is essential to manage and solve these issues. To that end, more and more digital centers for young medical students are being developed to aid education and work hand in hand with digital transformation.

For example, GE’s Command Center Software helps caregivers orchestrate patient care for better outcomes and efficiencies. Command Center is a suite of clinical apps that provide valuable real-time data to enable enterprise-wide collaboration, including monitoring, data collection, and other critical tasks. It can show how many beds are available in real-time, easily access patient records, and even provide feedback.

Patient outcomes and experience

Data and analytics are crucial in attaining better patient outcomes and patient experiences. It helps engage end-users in problem-solving and provides insights and access to information that would otherwise be difficult and time-consuming to find.

Through automation, for example, data and insights can improve a host of problematic, time-wasting areas like facilitating faster check-ins and optimizing appointment scheduling or reminders. Technology has the potential to transform the patient experience and clinical outcomes drastically.

The overarching takeaway from HIMSS is technology is and will continue to transform the healthcare industry across every facet. New expectations are now being translated into innovation, and novel solutions are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. To embrace these opportunities, hospitals and health systems need to ensure that each piece is optimized and delivers the intended value, starting with the communication and collaboration systems connecting their people and patients.

Did you miss the IR team at HIMSS 22? Let's connect!

Topics: Communications Customer experience Healthcare Technology Collaborate Digital Workplace Hybrid workplace

Subscribe to our blog

Stay up to date with the latest
Collaborate, Transact and Infrastructure
industry news and expert insights from IR.