A lot has been said about digital transformation and its effect on all industries, but few are experiencing a more significant impact than healthcare.
Despite historically being technological laggards, most healthcare businesses and providers have spent considerable time and resources adopting new technology over the last few years. But what’s been driving this avalanche of transformation?
There are two forces are at work here: a push from within the industry, and a pull from the market. The push for digital transformation comes from providers who are keen to benefit from technology’s ability to reduce operational costs and increase business agility. The pull, on the other hand, is coming directly from consumers themselves — millennials in particular.
Simply put, the world of healthcare is going digital, and institutions are being forced to transform and evolve in order to remain viable and competitive.
What’s pushing digital transformation in healthcare?
Before we look at the how millennials are pulling healthcare towards a digital transformation, lets dig into what’s been pushing the change. It’s no secret within the healthcare community that HITECH and Meaningful Use legislation legislation have made the adoption of electronic health records more financially palatable. In fact, most providers would agree that moving to digital medical records platforms was in their best interest, despite the initial expense. The benefits are simply too numerous to ignore.
Other well-known factors pushing the healthcare industry towards transformation include the drive to reduce the time and money spent on administrative duties, our aging population demanding more services, and advancements in new patient treatment technologies, such as personalized medicine and genetic interventions.
What’s pulling healthcare toward digital transformation?
The marketplace pull from millennials has been the most powerful force for digital transformation. They are truly progenies of the digital age, growing up in an era where PDFs and streaming dominated their learning experience, not textbooks. They prefer text over email, and they’re arguably the first generation to fully leverage mobility and smart phones.
Millennials were born in the digital promised land and now view easy-to-use consumer apps as the gold standard for interacting with healthcare providers. One recent study even confirmed that “the main users of health apps were individuals who were younger, had more education, reported excellent health, and had a higher income.” Regardless of the industry in which you operate, those are attractive characteristics of a target market.
Millennials expect personalized and connected engagement with their providers across all communication channels. This new type of patient is a savvy, well-informed consumer, and healthcare providers need to keep up in order to stay relevant and profitable. All participants in the value chain, including payers, providers and life science organizations, have to meet the next generation of patients where they are — in the digital world.
These patients are also welcoming of other digital health-related products, including wearable fitness trackers, telemedicine services, electronic prescriptions and even consumer-level DNA testing. The concept of the “quantified self” has also been gaining popularity, with people using specialized electronics and mobile devices to track their own personal data. This data-driven lifestyle involves people tracking and logging several metrics throughout their day, including heart rate, sleep, nutrition and physical activity. Millennials understand the role that accurate data plays when it comes to understanding their own bodies and taking control of their health.
Transformation with the cloud
This trend toward digital has not gone unnoticed by the medical community, especially solution developers who have released all manner of apps. In 2017, there were more than 325,000 mobile health apps available, with over 78,000 healthcare apps added that year alone. These apps attempt to make people’s lives easier and help them live healthier.
And all those healthcare apps have one thing in common: they either run in the cloud or were downloaded from the cloud.
Cloud is the most prominent enabling factor in the digital transformation and consumerization of healthcare. Cloud adoption offers the same benefits to healthcare organizations as it does for businesses within other industries, allowing organizations to:
- reduce the total cost of ownership by letting skipping the upfront costs associated with traditional hardware-based solutions,
- provide unmatched scalability and agility, since all it takes is the “flip of a switch” to increase or decrease an environment’s capabilities during usage peaks, and
- maintain compliance with stringent third-party security standards such as HIPAA and HITRUST.
Work with a trusted, unbiased partner
Cloud technology has been developing and maturing at an accelerated pace, and staying up-to-date on the latest advancements and best practices can be a burden, even if you have expertise in-house. That’s why it’s critical to choose the right technology partner — not all cloud service providers are the same, and partnering with the right one means expert help determining the best solution for your organization’s needs. Whether you’re using private, public or hybrid cloud, working with an experienced cloud service provider lets you focus on day-to-day operations and innovation.
Rackspace specializes in digital transformation for all businesses types, especially those in highly regulated industries. We offer HITRUST CSF certification and HIPAA compliant hosting for healthcare organizations, and we have the security and compliance expertise needed to make sure you continue to meet regulatory requirements. In addition to Managed Security Services and HIPAA Compliance Assistance, customers rely on us for cost-efficient solution design, data center consolidation and cloud migration, analytics and optimization, and help with improving patient engagement through the use of cloud-based tools.