Digital Transformation Gap is Growing Among Health Systems

Nine in ten executives say the impact of digital investments has been positive but note there's room for greater impact as they progress in their transformations, according to a new report.

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  • [Image source: Krishna Prasad/MITSMR Middle East]

    Health systems have sprinted toward digital solutions, but the gap is widening between the “haves” and “have-nots” as some systems progress toward their transformation goals and many others fall behind.

    Chartis’ report From Belief to Transformation: Digital Market Leaders Focus on Value shows that market leaders who have developed and invested in a cohesive strategic approach with a defined roadmap pull ahead while most health systems (70%) play catch-up.

    “As the majority of health systems continue to make significant investments in digital to remain competitive, the focus has to shift to realizing a return on those digital investments,” said report co-author Tom Kiesau, Chartis’ Chief Innovation Officer and Digital Transformation Leader. 

    “Health systems face increasingly constrained finances, even as patient and staff digital expectations continue to rise. Digital investments have improved stakeholders’ experiences, but ‘good enough’ last year won’t be ‘good enough’ next year. It’s increasingly essential that all digital transformation investments demonstrate meaningful, tangible value, in direct alignment and support of the organization’s strategic objectives.”

    The report found more than 80% of respondents are making “medium” or “high” investments in digital, including high investments in digital health solutions for operational efficiencies (88%) and consumer experience (91%).

    Half of the respondents plan to increase investment this year. At least some are seeing improved patient and staff experience and positive value from their digital investments, but the degree of impact varies.

    Nine in ten executives say the impact of digital investments has been positive but note there’s room for greater impact as they progress in their transformations.

    Here are some key findings:

    Consumer digital demand drives health transformation

    Consumers seek a digital healthcare experience to support convenient, efficient access to medical information and healthcare services. When asked to rank barriers to digital transformation, respondents did not align on a single most challenging barrier. However, consumer demand remained the lowest barrier to long-term digital transformation, as reported last year. This suggests that health systems understand consumers are pushing for a digital healthcare experience, not objecting to it.

    Demand for hospitals at home is rising quickly

    Demand for care at home has gained significant momentum, with 90% of respondents agreeing on the urgency to develop a comprehensive approach to remote care. This marks a significant shift from Chartis’ 2022 survey, where nearly 40% of respondents reported that they were not even in the planning stages for the hospital at home. Health system executives aren’t questioning whether they should develop a care-at-home program but are deciding how to build it quickly and effectively.

    Health systems gear up for AI integration

    The healthcare industry has embraced artificial intelligence (AI) more slowly than finance and telecommunications. However, with the advancement of AI, health systems appear eager to incorporate AI into broader organizational functions. More than 40% of executives reported actively piloting AI programs, and more than a quarter of respondents reported having a formal AI program. Only 11% reported no AI plan or development, compared to the more than 25% of respondents who had not started planning in 2021.

    Keen to know how emerging technologies will impact your industry? MIT SMR Middle East will be hosting the second edition of NextTech Summit.


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