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Digital transformation without clinical purpose is like driving with a blindfold

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Digital transformation

We often see hospitals and medical systems orchestrating digital transformation initiatives with the aim of providing better medical care to patients. Unfortunately, projects that seek to redesign old processes, in some cases, create more burden, especially when they are facilitated without clinical strategy.

Systems implemented in parallel (or without interoperability) and a constant focus on IT-tool implementation at hospital level have created inefficiencies in medical systems.

They have also caused difficulties in validating the health-economic implications of these systems.

In a previous article, we discussed the origins of medicine’s resistance to IT. This is caused by flawed implementation of EHR systems and an increasing administrative burden – around eight hours every week.

Talk of healthcare IT usually leads to discussion EHRs and decision support systems, etc. But although these systems are essential to hospitals, they are not clinically relevant to doctors.

A balance between these IT implementations and clinically-led initiatives is required during digital transformation projects.

Understanding the hospital’s target patient population, the KPIs in terms of revenue and patient outcomes and the technological state of play can prepare us to draft a proper digital transformation plan.

An assessment of clinically-relevant patient groups is required in order to understand how to develop (or implement) further.

As an example:

The NHS Digital Partnership Awards aim to bridge clinical needs and digital transformation.

Jhonatan Bringas Dimitriades

These UK projects are designed with a clinical strategy and pursue the use of digital health-precision medicine technologies to solve the most common (or urgent) needs of NHS hospitals or sub-systems.

Requirements for drafting a clinical digital transformation project

As explained in my previous article, the key elements to consider when establishing a digital transformation project are:

Pathophysiology:

Clear clinical strategy is key to every healthcare-led digital transformation project.

This must be designed with knowledge of pathophysiology, which is the way a disease progresses.

Understanding the clinical strategic purpose helps us decide which technology to use in order to reach the desired clinical outcome.

Technology should not lead the transformation – clinical knowledge should.

Healthcare-Economic target:

We justify purchasing healthcare solutions by showing economic benefits and outcomes.

A clear example of this is this study from Australia, which shows the cost-effectiveness of Remote Monitoring (RPM) for a medical system in Queensland.

Some of the parameters to consider when running health-economic benefit studies are cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit analysis, cost-minimisation and cost-utility analysis.

Digital Readiness:

Medical systems, digital literacy and readiness are key factors in the success or failure of digital transformation projects in healthcare.

I will take a deeper dive into readiness in future articles.

As I always conclude in my articles, I would like to offer this phrase again:

The future of medicine is precision-based, tailored according to each patient, their physiology, gender, ethnicity, genetics and so on. Building technology for everyone means building for each one of us, in an individualised, precise way.

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  1. Pingback: How full-stack observability could be the solution to complex healthcare IT

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