Execs Accelerate Health IT Innovation, Digital Health Transformation

More than nine out of 10 executives said their organizations are innovating health IT with urgency to accelerate digital health transformation.

To meet the needs of post-COVID-19 care delivery, health IT executives are accelerating digital health transformation through technology infrastructure development, comprehensive health IT training, and shared data platforms according to Accenture’s 2021 Digital Health Tech Vision report.

The report, based on insights from 399 healthcare executives across six countries, found that technology architecture was the top stressor facing executives during COVID-19.

In response, executives are driving health IT innovation; 93 percent of those surveyed reported that their organization is “innovating with an urgency and call to action this year.”

More than four in five (81 percent) of executives said that the pace of digital transformation is accelerating at their organization. When COVID-19 hit the US, healthcare organizations compressed timelines for health IT adoption from decades to two- to three-year plans, the report authors noted.

The report outlined five emerging trends that are driving the digital health transformation: strategic technology infrastructure development, digital twins, technology democratization, remote workforces, and shared data platforms.

With the rapid influx of new health IT, healthcare organizations must ensure they have dynamic technology infrastructure in place that can keep up with industry developments such as edge and AI, the authors noted. The survey found that 73 percent of healthcare executives reported that their technology architecture is becoming critical to their organization’s success.

The report also found that digital twins are growing in popularity among healthcare organizations to optimize business strategy through the simulation of a variety of outcomes. The technology streamlines data from a variety of devices to create living models of facilities, supply chains, medical products, and even body parts and organs, the authors explained.

Most healthcare executives (87 percent) reported that digital twins are becoming vital to their organization’s ability to collaborate in strategic partnerships. 

With more technology comes the need for comprehensive training, the authors explained.

“When people across the business have the power to create technology solutions, anyone can feel empowered to be a technologist,” the report noted. “In fact, 92 percent of healthcare executives believe technology democratization is becoming critical in their ability to ignite innovation across their organization.”

Next, the authors observed a shift in the healthcare industry’s workforce approach after remote work has grown in popularity since the onset of COVID-19.

According to the survey, 82 percent of healthcare executives reported that leading healthcare organizations will start shifting to a “Bring-Your-Own-Environment” workforce methodology going forward. Almost nine in ten executives (89 percent) reported that they believe the virtual workforce opens up the talent market and expands the talent competition between organizations.

Lastly, the report highlighted the trend of adopting multiparty systems through a shared data platform.

“While business partnerships are not new, we are now seeing adoption of multiparty systems that use a shared data platform to enable a resilient, adaptable, and trustworthy foundation for existing and future partnerships,” they wrote. “These shared platforms can help in the fight against future disruption.”

The authors noted contact tracing and frictionless payments as applications that were once considered “too complicated” before COVID-19 spurred the need for these solutions.

The authors noted that multiparty systems require more than just technology investments; healthcare organizations must also establish a consortium that governs the networks to guarantee security based on common health IT standards.

“The nature of these solutions is that they must be built by ecosystems and consortiums of collaborators—not independently,” the report authors wrote. “An ecosystem-forward approach can drive the most value for the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.”

“When you’re better able to transact, share data and shift between partners seamlessly and securely, you have an advantage in driving industry-level change that enables better care for people,” they continued.

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