10 must-know perspectives on digital transformation for healthcare IT leaders

March 15, 2024
Shelly Lucas Creative Director

What’s the best way for your IT infrastructure to support your organization’s digital transformation? If this question is niggling away in your mind, you’re not alone. It’s a complex question without, it seems, a universal answer.

That said, after doing a deep research dive, I’ve come across some great content that can help move your healthcare IT (HIT) down the digital transformation path. Because these ideas are just too good to live on indefinitely in my digital bookmarks, I’ve decided to share them here.

Data’s role in healthcare’s digital transformation

Healthcare Revolution: Bold Predictions for 2024. Healthcare Innovation. During this webinar replay, Informatica’s chief strategist of healthcare and life sciences discusses the major trends driving healthcare in 2024. All three trends map back to (you probably already guessed it) data.

Idea with legs: For healthcare IT teams, the infrastructure bar is high for data delivery: How can data be packaged and delivered in easily consumable, findable units that mimic the retail shopping experience? We recommend shifting to a composable architecture.

Healthcare and Life Sciences Insights.” Salesforce. Based on the responses of 400 global health and life sciences leaders, this report provides a snapshot of technological investment priorities and how they plan to progress on their digitalization journeys. 

Idea with legs: Improved data management comes in as the #1 ranked outcome for digital optimization efforts. Healthcare data is huge in volume and very complex. Making it accessible, secure, and useful—and in a way that’s both efficient and cost-effective—is a challenge healthcare organizations will be wrestling with for years to come. However, to support your organization’s digital transformation, you’ll need to make strategic investments in your data layer to ensure its quality, standardization, and usability.

Innovation in Data-Driven Health Care.” Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by Roche. While data has become a stronger focus for hospitals and health systems, only 12% believe their organizations are mature in data-driven decision making. This research uncovers the greatest inhibitors to becoming more data-driven (including integration challenges) and outlines key steps for achieving maturity.

Idea with legs: This meaty report stresses how critical it is for healthcare organizations to use “multimodal” data (SDOH, genomics, imaging, etc.) in nontraditional ways, and to do it fast. The chief digital officer and SVP at Duke University Health System summarizes it best: “The question is, how do you take your institutional data assets that are sitting in warehouses around your organization and de-identify them and make them available so we can do research at scale and investigate problems, so instead of taking 17 years to develop a solution, it takes 17 days?” The answer requires establishing data standards across systems and solving usability problems—and that’s just a start.

Digital Health Most Wired: National Trends 2023.” CHIME. This annual report is a good pulse check for how U.S. healthcare organizations are using healthcare information technologies. 

Idea with legs: The common theme among healthcare organization respondents is “accelerated data use.” The clincher: Just because the data is available to use doesn’t mean health systems are fully using that data—or capitalizing on the full capabilities of the analytics solutions they’ve deployed.

Poor CDS EHR Integration Negatively Impacts Patient Care, Survey Finds.” EHR Intelligence. Aside from the painfully obvious headline, this article contains some rather shocking stats related to how often health data outside the EHR isn’t used. In fact, 50% of clinicians say they overlook patient-specific insights from third-party solutions “often” or “all the time, ” primarily because accessing this data is “too time-consuming.” 

Idea with legs: User experience matters, because without a good one, health data goes unused. This is a pretty compelling call to action for HIT teams and solution vendors: View health data delivery through the lens of individual users. If you don’t, patients may ultimately suffer the consequences.

Buyer Mindsets: Health Technology Perspectives from Clinical and Clinical IT Leaders.” IDC InfoBrief sponsored by Redox, IDC#US5D931923. This research offers more than 30 pages of valuable insights for digital health vendors and healthcare organizations alike. Based on the technology-buying attitudes and priorities of 205 providers, this InfoBrief also offers provider-specific recommendations for moving forward as a digital-forward organization. 

Idea with legs: Among IDC’s insights in this InfoBrief—and there are many—is the finding that more clinical (40%) than clinical IT (27%) leaders say integration and middleware are IT and infrastructure challenges for their healthcare organizations. Again, this underscores the importance of user experience; when clinicians have to log in to multiple devices and piece together data from different systems, it consumes valuable time they can’t afford to waste. 

Designing an HIT infrastructure for digital transformation

Re-Thinking the Architecture of Health IT.” The Journal of mHealth. This article identifies three common tenets from EY’s and Gartner’s thinking on healthcare’s IT architecture of the future and explores them in more detail. The author also proposes an openEHR, a framework adopted by national organizations in  Australia, the UK, and Norwegian countries, as a potential means for creating a connected healthcare ecosystem. 

Idea with legs: Analysts envision an HIT architecture with “a cohesive technology stack, giving a unified experience for clinicians, professionals, and patients and an extensible, vendor-neutral day layer at the center, accessed by all applications in real time.”

How to Reach Peak Agility with Composable Tech Architecture.” CEO Digital. This post clearly explains how a composable approach makes your tech architecture more flexible so it can support your organization’s digital transformation. Written by the development head at a design and tech agency, it’s technically on point but also easily apprehensible by those without a technical background.

Idea with legs: The author recommends that composable tech architecture be designed around three “layers” of digital experiences: the customer journey, the capabilities required to support the journey, and the tech stack on which these capabilities are built. Applying this composable approach to HIT, the tech stack would be built on cloud services and capabilities focusing on scalability and APIs. This would equip HIT to deliver new services that are adaptable to market changes and important for making digital business maturity progress.

2021 Strategic Roadmap for the Composable Future of Applications.” Gartner, Inc. 3962036. Usually, I avoid citing or recommending research that’s more than a year old, but for this topic, I found some real gems in the archives. This is one of them. This research contains valuable guidance to help organizations move from static application experiences to a more agile app delivery that’s ideal for digital transformation. 

Idea with legs: The report advises CIOs to build composable business capabilities to quickly enable new business scenarios. Ideally, healthcare organizations would adopt a gradual, “prepare-build-scale” application roadmap with the goal of achieving a product-style app delivery. With composable’s modular setup, HIT teams would be able to operate with greater agility.

How Will You Design Information Architecture to Unlock the Power of Data?” EY.  Written in 2020, this EY article underscores the importance of “creating the right data environment” for healthcare and how to architect an infrastructure that can support wellness anytime, anywhere. 

Idea with legs: HIT architecture needs to “bridge the gap between the information systems of today and the connected health system of tomorrow.” More specifically, it must be built for “data liquidity,” keeping pace with the velocity and variety of generated health data. If your infrastructure falls short of delivering seamless data streams now, it will only get worse as data volumes continue to climb and sources (like RPM devices) multiply.

Do any of these ideas resonate with your vision for HIT?

What should a digital-ready IT infrastructure look like? Learn more in “How to evolve your IT infrastructure for healthcare’s digital transformation.”