“Where there is data smoke, there is business fire.” — Thomas Redman
No matter what space you are in, digital transformations are changing how businesses both interact internally and externally. This allows organizations to reduce costs, enhance the customer journey, and knowledge share throughout the organization, through data collection. It’s through that collection of data that businesses can track trends in their customer base, based on previous purchase history, how they shop, and how they prefer to engage a company's platform. While you normally don't shop at a hospital (unless you’re looking for a “get well soon” gift at the gift shop), hospitals collect data differently, but essentially for the same purpose. To have better decision-making, that impacts the quality of patient care.
Through digital transformation, implementing a healthcare data strategy is essential. This is to ensure that healthcare organizations can manage the biggest health issues, in turn saving lives. A Qlik report showed that healthcare workers’ use of data, in terms of making patient decisions has doubled over the year. Nothing in life is certain and we saw that firsthand with the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s moments like those, where having reliable and accessible data is more important than ever, especially in these changing, technological times.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, National Health Services (NHS) England, has already been looking to implement policies to make health information digital as a means of knowledge sharing throughout the healthcare industry. The NHS Long Term Plan, started as an effort to keep up with data collection during the pandemic, but has since shifted to a 10-year plan to “have a service fit for the future”. This plan looks to overhaul the healthcare industry by implementing policies that are more data-driven. This in turn will track and discover new medical breakthroughs and an overall streamlined data collection process. Having this quick, up-to-date information allows healthcare organizations to make quick, accurate decisions overall enhancing patient care.
When looking to implement a data strategy through a digital transformation, there are several foods for thought.
Remember those old sci-fi books where they talked about robots taking over the world? Well, in essence, they have, but more so for the common good. Digital transformations allow for a massive collection of data to accurately predict patient movement and trends. Through the power of a digital tool, automation increases the quality of data being shared, showing the most update to date information in real-time. An example of this is using Robotic Process Automation.
RPA replaces the manual work of data collection. Just like humans capture and interpret what they see, RPA does the same thing but quicker and more efficiently. RPA helps streamline that process by the automatically navigating system, searching and pulling data, and many other set actions that humans couldn’t do themselves.
There’s that old running joke about telling someone to take a car apart and then put it back together. The same goes for understanding how these data collection tools work. It’s easy to break something down, but without the proper guidance and understanding of how a tool or process works, you’re just standing there surrounded by a pile of car parts.
Being able to understand and break down data is the cornerstone of a digital transformation. In fact, a separate Qlik report showed that data literacy will be the most demanded skill by 2030. Likewise, that same report also showed that roughly 12% of employees in the healthcare space feel they can confidently and accurately report and/or break down data. While a digital transformation focuses on the technology, it also needs to focus on the people using it. A tool is only as useful as the one using it, and it takes more than an onboarding packet or a few workshops to fully maximize a digital tool's potential.
In the healthcare world, every decision (big or small) drastically impacts patient outcomes. Implementing a digital transformation in a healthcare process will provide quick and accurate information both in healthcare organizations and the industry as a whole. This starts with a detailed planning phase. When companies invest in both their systems and their people, it gives them that competitive advantage and in the world of healthcare, that advantage will save lives.