BY SHIV UNNIKRISHNAN
As a healthcare industry or pharma industry professional, you’ve probably personally experienced how keeping up with digital transformation in healthcare can be daunting.
Safe to say, you might even find that the healthcare industry as a whole is struggling to keep up with the extremely fast pace of transformation and wide array of solutions that are now available in the digital space, to assist and enable your businesses to grow and compete globally. Challenging as it is, it must be said that adapting to the digital era is no longer an option in a competitive market and therefore requires a shift towards a more flexible mindset in changing typically manual and often inefficient processes.
For technology solution creators and vendors, it is from a build perspective that consumers understand what they are purchasing in terms of technology, functionality, scalability and its associated cost considerations. The reason for this is that in our minds, it adds to the security of knowing that your investment is feasible and is going to work for you in the long run by being able to adapt to technological advancements as time progresses.
A double-edged sword
It is for both the flexible as well as risk-taking mindset that deciding which emerging technologies are worth investing in and getting your team on board with this change is often the hardest part. In fact, in a recent survey, only seven per cent of healthcare and pharmaceutical companies said they had gone digital, compared to 15 per cent of companies in other industries.
There are many new technologies that can drastically help healthcare, but sometimes the investment from a cost perspective far outweighs the value it provides and sadly in most cases, adds complications to an already complex set of problems.
Large scale initiatives while sometimes necessary are also a double-edged sword, that have proven to adversely affect the efficient utilisation and management of the limited funds, limited resources and limited time that we know the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries are faced with today. Colossal amounts of investments are spent on highly customised applications, tools and solutions and far more time is wasted in training what is now a thinly spread out resource pool the world over.
Then comes the next issue often associated to technology, which is its obsolescence. Many digitalisation efforts in healthcare require extremely large capital investments and take a long-term approach in delivering an enterprise-level software that will “transform” healthcare operations. These exercises tend to create a “white whale” like technology, that eventually leads to unacheived goals.
Choosing the right technology
The implementation of these softwares and technologies can take years of planning, delivery and execution.
Usually, these projects grow with complicated workflows, significant scope creep and take little consideration of the end-state of providing value to users. They typically grow to a scale that is too complicated to implement leaving end-users frustrated which in turn results in low user adoption.
By the time these projects are completed, new technologies have emerged which can provide better value than the original project. What then happens to the expected return on such large investments?
In many cases, the transformation of simple operational processes in the healthcare industry is what will provide the greatest benefit to healthcare organisations.
Taking typically manual processes such as Product Development, Patient Care Management, Contract Management, Project Management, Research & Development and Audits, transforming them into simple applications, will create transparency, accountability, and unity in decision-making. Solving simple problems in an agile way will create immediate value for all stakeholders.
This can only be achieved by simple-to-use and dynamic applications that allow processes to be agile and flexible thereby allowing everyone to easily adapt to change.
The right technology for you should be one that can be implemented quickly and can evolve as processes are updated. Most importantly, such a platform puts the ultimate control required for good governance, well-ordered workflow and transparency back in the secure hands of the practitioners, process owners and experts in their field. — The Health
Shiv Unnikrishnan is Partner, COO/CFO of Axceligent Solutions (M) Sdn Bhd.