As you’re modernizing your healthcare IT systems, you’re probably experiencing challenges and growing pains. You might be wondering if it’s worth continuing this modernization considering your experience thus far. Who knows what other challenges await?
Today, we’re here to discuss some of the most common healthcare digital transformation challenges so you don’t have to be blindsided.
7 Healthcare Digital Transformation Challenges
1. Securing Quality and Quantity of Data
Digital transformation has the power to change healthcare for the better, but new technology is still emerging. To make the best use of these new systems, employees must know how to use the new software, including healthcare ERP systems.
To mitigate the challenge of learning new software, companies are investing in talent acquisition. This means expanding their searches in two ways. For one, they’re looking outside of their immediate geographical regions. This includes taking advantage of remote work opportunities.
They’re also looking beyond the healthcare industry. Companies are now seeking employees from niches such as consumer tech, who possess the knowledge and perspective necessary to run the platforms.
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2. Integrating Data
When data can be streamlined across digital systems, healthcare networks can use it to achieve new insights and improve the patient experience. Yet, despite advancements in this area, data remains largely segmented.
The industry has yet to establish universal standards for data integration. The standards that do exist haven’t been largely adopted. There is also potential for other data issues to occur, including:
• Missing information
• Manual errors
Data cleansing and effective transfer should be a major part of any digital transformation. Make sure the timeline and budget allocate plenty of resources to this task, so it isn’t rushed at the last minute.
3. Protecting Patient Data
According to one report, 4,419 data breaches occurred in the healthcare sector between 2009 and 2021. These breaches affected at least 500 patient records each time. They ranged in severity, but each caused its own set of problems, including:
• Data loss
• Data theft
• Data exposure
• Impermissible data disclosure
This is why cybersecurity remains a top concern for healthcare facilities thinking about making digital advancements. Choosing the right ERP vendor remains a critical concern. Companies should prioritize secure cloud providers that have certifications and can meet major compliance requirements, including those set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
4. Navigating Threats to Cybersecurity
Patient privacy is closely related to cybersecurity. If companies can guard their digital systems against the threat of attack, they can protect confidential records.
These attackers commonly target the personal health information contained within these facilities, and can disrupt care, damage reputations, and even lead to patient harm.
Companies need technology that will allow constant monitoring. They also need the ability to counter a cybersecurity threat as soon as it occurs. While there’s no foolproof solution, some of the most effective measures include:
• Establishing multifactor authentication
• Using public-private key cryptography to encrypt/digitally sign sensitive documents
• Encrypting sensitive information
• Setting controls to delete sensitive data and securely terminate user sessions on apps
• Fortifying data management in the cloud or in on-premise solutions
• Setting role-based user permissions on digital health systems
5. Connecting With Patients
Healthcare organizations use digital platforms to reach and treat patients in a variety of ways, thanks to solutions such as:
• Telehealth appointments
• AI screening
• Virtual nurses
Much of this activity was catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited in-person appointments. However, there are still obstacles to cross to ensure that providers are using these systems to their full advantage. Key concerns include:
• Establishing successful connections for all patients
• Ensuring insurance reimbursement for digital services
• Deploying applications that are secure and efficient
• Achieving full buy-in from providers and stakeholders
Before pursuing a digital transformation, companies should plan how to deploy the systems. The goal should be to ensure all parties involved are working together to improve the experience for patients and providers alike.
6. Getting Budget Approval
Even if a transformation is necessary, it can be difficult for project leaders to get the money they need to move forward. However, as healthcare companies continue to make investments in information technology (IT), spending should also increase for digital technology.
Other capital investments are also vying for the C-suite’s money and attention, so proving ROI is critical. Project teams must be able to clearly show how the new systems will benefit the organization, ease workplace pain points, and improve patient care.
7. Facilitating Organizational Change Management
Digital transformations are enterprise-wide. They affect every department in an organization, including those in the healthcare sector. They often require employees to change their current workflows and abandon best practices.
This can breed resentment and resistance within companies. Organizational change management (OCM) is key to mitigating concerns and encouraging user adoption. Early in the project, establish an OCM team that will be responsible for communicating updates, answering questions, and helping guide teams through the transition.
Overcome These Challenges
Digital systems can make daily life easier for healthcare providers. They also make it easier to manage data, reach patients, and expand operations.
However, these key healthcare digital transformation challenges still exist. To avoid them, create a strong project team and commit to planning ahead as much as possible. With the right approach, you can sidestep the pitfalls that undermine many implementations.
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