Digital initiatives in health have long been recognised for increasing patient care and improving workflow. The events of the last two years have meant that digital health solutions have taken precedent in managing the health of nearly 23 million Australians. As there are many remote and hard to reach places, current digital health programs such as telehealth services have closed the distance gap once felt by many isolated patients. There are many new and exciting ways a health organisation can embrace digital technology to provide excellent care.
To discuss how healthcare organisations can best equip themselves for digital transformation, we had a chat with Empired’s Executive General Manager, Craig Lennard. Craig has substantial experience in digital transformation implementation across a wide range of industries, in particular working with many healthcare organisations on aspects of their digital transformation journeys. This has included statewide patient record initiatives, health operational support systems to digital engagement solutions for patient and providers. We wanted to learn from Craig’s experience and gain insight regarding the health sector. Read this in-depth interview to learn about how technology solutions are transforming patient care and creating greater employee engagement. Here is what Craig had to say...
What trends have you witnessed during your time in the healthcare ICT industry?
There have been many. The biggest trend continues to be the gradual but inevitable removal of “islands of information” across the health ICT ecosystems. Through cloud, modern data platforms and integration technologies many health organisations now have the opportunity to be increasingly more interconnected and centralised.
Whether it is EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) talking to EHRs (Electronic Health Record), linking GP practice systems to hospital systems or even advances in accessing IOT (Internet of Things) in the healthcare device space to drive multi-disciplinary care processes. It is increasingly evident that there has never been a better time to deliver the right information in the right context to uplift care scenarios and drive a higher personalised experience that is now expected.
Rapid low-code application deployment on these extensible and interconnected platforms can now ensure tailored solutions are available much faster, and more easily with little to no downtime. Also leveraging services like machine learning to bring more relevant support to carers devices to ensure a better standard of care is another example of easily executed technology.
A good nationwide example of this has been demonstrated in advances in telehealth solutions as many have seen in this pandemic as we try to bring care systems to the individual and not require the individual to move to the care system. Many of these solutions have been conceived and delivered in weeks and days and now set the standard for responsive technology.
What issues do you see in the present-day health care landscape in regard to technology?
The latest IDC (International Data Corporation)1￼data shows that not all health providers are equally advanced in the switch to digital platforms that drive this new potential. This can be because of many reasons and organisations may also struggle with knowing where to begin. When starting a digital revolution, the foundation technology, data systems, operating models and funding approaches must be agile and reliable to ensure there is no ‘weak link’ in the transformation.
Great modern healthcare digital foundations technologies include cloud services for securely sharing data and include the platforms for collaboration, automation, and low code application development all with privacy and security built in.
This issue as noted for some health organisations is having the roadmap to that enabling foundation technology clear and leading into the future; whilst at the same time being able to proactively work to migrate off the legacy environments.
What have you learned about organisations that rely on outdated legacy systems?
Most of my industry peers would share the same fundamental view; revenue is constrained but both demand for services and the costs of staff, consumables and diagnostics keep rising. This creates an economic vacuum for the digital transformation we know is essential to create ‘version 2.0’ in healthcare.
In this context, many health providers continue to rely on legacy systems to keep their organisations going. This is understandable but by continuing to rely on older technology this increases many risks such as cyber-attacks and data privacy breaches. Moreover, it can cause bottlenecks in service delivery. This in turn can cause substantial frustration to patients and healthcare workers who lose confidence in systems and find themselves less and less engaged and effective in an environment that is becoming increasingly demanding.
Lastly of course using legacy systems because they’ve ‘always worked’ will lead to increased maintenance costs and risking business continuity.
If this is sounding like your environment, a digital revolution tailored to your organisation, will ensure that your staff feel supported and can do their job the way they were meant to, while reducing your IT spend and organisational risk.
When you reflect on your experience what to do feel is your best accomplishment?
There is no single best accomplishment, as there have been many exciting engagements and programs over the years. The common thing about them is the strong satisfaction of bringing the latest of digital enabling technologies to the wide, diverse, and demanding set of requirements that is the health sector.
It is a sector where you get to work with some amazing and dedicated health practitioners and one where you can genuinely believe your outcomes can make a difference to human lives. I am proud also of the fact that I work with an accomplished organisation that has two decades of experience in providing digital transformation to many health organisations. We have over 1,000 experts in areas such as data, AI, core systems, modern work solutions and digital transformation. Our team members work together to provide the enabling road map and best foundations for our health clients.
What are is your advice for healthcare organisations wanting to start their digital transformation?
Consider the three pillars for a great transformation strategy:
- Have an optimistic view of your current assets and capabilities
- Develop an exciting and valuable target with a roadmap to get there
- Carefully consider the operational implications for people, change and funding to make the roadmap real.
Be ready to make space for digital transformation, good executive sponsorship and a team that is removed from the day-to-day pressures to meet with peers and talk to consultants. Forming a great plan is essential for creating a vision that is relevant and compelling for your organisation.
Lastly, but equally important is, carefully select great foundational data and technology partners to get your organisation to where it needs to go much faster whilst reducing cost and maximising efficiency for your staff and patients. No matter where you are at in your digital journey, we can advise you on the best pathway ahead. We will help you get on with what you do best, delivering great health service to your patients.
Get in touch with Craig or the team to discuss how we can improve your services today. If you would like to chat to Craig more about healthcare foundations, you can reach him on LinkedIn here.
Empired is a Gold Certified Microsoft Expert Partner with over two decades of experience providing large scale digital transformations to our valued clients such as healthcare organisations. We provide solutions that allow businesses to work and collaborate easier than ever before. Get started on transforming your business today for a brighter tomorrow.