Some of the biggest and most powerful consumer brands have tried it. It seems every tech company has to take a look, leaning over the proverbial fence to have a look at the possibilities of testing their tech-savvy in the healthcare space.
There’s no question that the healthcare industry needs innovation—digital or otherwise. Tech experts have their theories on the obstacles that plague the industry.
“There are a few reasons for healthcare’s historic lag in platform utilization and growth. . . ,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health. “Platform businesses are notoriously difficult to scale in any industry, but particularly so in healthcare, given how complex, fragmented, and regulated the industry is.”
Enterprise tech brands have the technology to break down siloed processes and eliminate fragmented data with secure platforms. But those features only address the digital capabilities of a multi-layered, reactive, territorial, and very human overall design of an industry whose projected profit pool should reach $790 billion by 2026.
What their vision for a stand-alone health division lacked caused the death rattle for these highly touted ventures, intended to “disrupt” the healthcare space but ended up on life support after three years in some cases.
So, what happened?
At the risk of oversimplifying an equally complicated process of launching a health division, could it be that these presumably “unsinkable” tech giants just took on too much too fast in areas where they lacked the expertise to support large-scale relationships?
At Simplus, we constantly track and gain experience in new technologies and service delivery models, particularly for our healthcare clients. The move toward digital transformation is a good thing; a much-needed thing for healthcare to scale. Rather than swiftly tearing down an incumbent model and replacing it with a shiny (but roundly untested) new one, hoping networks abandon their legacy systems to jump on board, we’ve found more success helping customers rebuild from within.
In other words, we introduce digital transformation at the customer’s preferred pace, aligned with their priorities, and modernize the infrastructure and operations around the technology.
Since 2014, we’ve focused on one thing: To use leading cloud solutions to help companies achieve a strategic vision, improve performance, and increase enterprise value.
Through our years of experience providing this specialized service, we’ve gained advanced knowledge of industry-specific technologies and designed a three-pronged business model that ensures our customers in the healthcare industry, in particular, get the post-implementation support they need to gain the most value from digital transformation.
Whether it’s a startup company venturing into health tech or a tech influencer looking to launch a new division, meaningful change on any level begins with a deep understanding of the industry and operations, their pain points, and determining what ongoing support is needed for successful adoption. Here’s why:
Understand the challenges within the industry
Most healthcare organizations see the value of automating administrative operations. That is, on the condition that implementation doesn’t massively disrupt their infrastructure.
The complexities of the various branches of operations make healthcare organizations a famously fickle audience. For example, EHR is the most significant mainstream dive into digital technology—with mixed reviews from physicians.
But that doesn’t mean the healthcare industry isn’t ripe for evolving traditional models with digital-based innovation that improves patient care, increases efficiency, and reduces costs with a system that aligns with a company’s infrastructure.
In a recent survey, healthcare leaders are considering more in-home care models and virtual care. Almost half (49 percent) identify a shift to value-based care as a priority, and 49 percent also have plans to incorporate real-time patient feedback to improve the patient experience.
Every day, providers, payers, partners, and patients interact within a tightly wound network, influenced by varying priorities, service levels, and outcomes. And every encounter between these participants is impacted by inflation, labor shortages, societal factors, compliance requirements, and data security concerns.
Despite these challenges, tech companies continue to make progress in the healthcare space, and collaborations between technology and healthcare organizations are increasing. Over time, as the industry evolves, regulations adapt, and interoperability improves, we can expect to see more successful tech solutions in healthcare.
Understand the human element amid the technology
Service requires more than installing a new product. A customer-centric approach to digital transformation means knowing your customer. In healthcare, it requires understanding a series of interconnected customers with unique perspectives and priorities.
For instance, a healthcare network may encourage providers and patients to use expanded care options as a means to generate revenue while payers profit from customers not needing care. Yet both parties offer new opportunities to connect and collaborate through digital platforms.
Rather than abandoning the healthcare system entirely, the emphasis is often on reforming and improving it.
This can involve various approaches, such as increasing healthcare funding, implementing policies to ensure universal access to care, enhancing preventive measures, promoting innovation, and addressing systemic issues that contribute to healthcare disparities.
There are many startup health tech companies developing innovative ideas. But how can a healthcare provider with hundreds of hospitals and clinics run by thousands of employees feel confident that this service will be around five years from now?
For example, after launching Halo Health in August 2020, Amazon recently announced it was shutting down its health division after just three years. Google Health shuttered its doors in 2021 after launching in 2018.
Some companies just need a system to use data more efficiently and strategically. For instance, thanks to cloud services, data can be updated in real-time, and each specialist can access and update it if they have permission. It dramatically simplifies everything for medical specialists and, consequently, patients. The latter can view changes in their prescriptions and appointments online without going to the hospital.
Expertise in health tech is a key selling point for healthcare organizations looking for digital transformation, but so is longevity. Simplus has been working with customers since 2014, and we’ve partnered with a system that has been innovating cloud computing for almost 25 years.
Understand the value of technical support post-implementation
Technical support post-implementation is an opportunity to foster a positive relationship between the organization and its users. By providing attentive and helpful support, organizations can build trust and loyalty among their user base.
The intersection of technology and healthcare continues to evolve rapidly, with advancements in areas such as telemedicine, AI-assisted diagnostics, remote patient monitoring, and personalized medicine.
Our Simplus teams are constantly training on modern systems and curating apps and innovations to help customize systems. We do not depend on quick fixes or fad tech to build relationships. Instead, we work closely with stakeholders to make sure implementations are effective solutions and processes that move our customers toward their goals.
“Whatever the need might be or what customers are running into with their technology, we have folks who are familiar with it and can lead that charge and understand the deep technical requirements, but also manage the rest of the team technically,” said Paul Temple, VP of Strategic Services at Simplus.
Satisfied users are more likely to become advocates for the system, promote its benefits within their networks, and potentially engage in long-term business relationships. This can support operational changes in the future.
We’ve heard the outcries that the healthcare system is broken and beyond repair. It’s worth noting that healthcare systems can have flaws and face challenges, such as issues with affordability, accessibility, and quality of care. Many discussions and debates focus on improving healthcare systems, addressing these challenges, and finding ways to make healthcare more equitable, affordable, and efficient.
But abandoning the healthcare system entirely would have significant consequences, potentially leaving people without access to essential medical services, preventive care, and treatments for various illnesses. It could lead to negative outcomes such as increased mortality rates, decreased life expectancy, and a decline in overall public health.
Exploring the healthcare industry as the “final frontier” for digital innovation offers plenty of benefits. But to have a lasting, disruptive impact, the decision about the future of a healthcare system should consider the needs of the population, the available resources, and the values and priorities of the society in question. It’s an ongoing discussion and an area where different countries and regions have adopted various models and approaches based on their specific circumstances.