Answers for a Healthier World

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Many of the technologies as well as the business processes and even best practices that have been a bedrock for industries are being washed away by a phenomenon called digital transformation (DX). defines digital transformation as the use of digital technology in every aspect of human society and living. They see digital transformation as the third step of a long process, coming after achieving digital competence and then becoming fully digital literate. This definition, however, doesn’t address what this means for hospitals.

To successfully embark on this digital transformation, it’s necessary for hospital leaders to offer insight into each of the Cloud, Analytics, Social, and Mobile (CASM) pillars of innovation and instill a sense of speed and business agility into their organizations. Doing so, however, creates new and more frequent vulnerabilities that require enhanced risk mitigation plans.

Digital Transformation means that hospitals need to be prepared to conduct business in an environment where everything carries an online component, everything is interconnected or soon will be, and everything is always on. Interactions with clinicians, patients and even competitors can occur at any time, in almost any way, and in great numbers. DX is also an enabler for collaboration between employees. In areas like desktop support, research, and digital software, DX can help further drive innovation and customer satisfaction.

Digital-Transformation.jpgHow DX may Shape EHRs

Because DX describes the phenomena around embedding digital and technological functions throughout an organization, industry, service or product, electronic health records (EHR) can be expected to grow in complexity, data and capabilities in the coming years as they morph with technologies like the Internet of Things, mobility, and cognitive computing. These changes can require hospitals to both drive the transformation forward while managing the infinitely more complex IT. Mastering IT complexity, therefore, is a key characteristic to driving value in hospital outcomes.

According to the recent Gartner and McKinsey CIO/COO survey, US health systems invested more than $10 billion in EHR systems between 2008 and 2013, and are projected to spend another $10 billion to $15 billion in the coming years. Despite the fact that for most healthcare providers, these investments constitute their largest expenditures, few if any maximized their return on those investments.

Through digital transformation initiatives, however, healthcare organizations can maximize their EHR to capture the full impact of the investment and achieve efficiency gains and meaningful use incentives. This is accomplished by emphasizing both clinically and operationally oriented sources of value, including better supply utilization, improved clinical out-comes and new labor practices that optimize both care quality and service efficiency.

According to the study, when done right, these approaches can generate between 10 and 20 percent of additional contribution impact. When looked at on a per-bed basis, that would generate an additional $10,000 to $20,000 in annual margins.

Sarah Shillington has more than 20 years of solid healthcare IT experience with particular expertise in developing strategy and tactics in the areas of executive level operations, professional services, consulting, and account management. She has more than 16 years of EHR services implementation experience, providing strong and effective leadership to clients and partners. She has assisted over 70 EHR installations and is the recipient of McKesson’s prestigious Pinnacle Award for innovation in early customer distance learning programs