The emergence of the digital patient presents immediate challenges for CIOs of healthcare organizations. Foremost is technology enablement, which is well underway for most organizations. Yet this enablement often is inwardly focused. Digitization primarily is being used for administrative cost efficiencies. This movement actually can outsource responsibilities to the end user. For example, the now common use of interactive voice recorder (IVR) requires the user sort and select the type of inquiry, often in many steps, just to find the right source of information. The newly emerging capabilities of robotic process automation (RPA) will compound this problem.
The CIO is challenged to find ways to deal with three distinct responsibilities needed to make the digital patient:
- Communication – Creating a clear vision of the unique characteristics of what constitutes a digital patient is critical for the technology and administrative staff to understand. As with any fundamental change to the organization, resistance to change is likely. Senior leadership must understand the need to address the digital patient as a fundamental element needed to succeed.
- Administration – Integration of changes into existing policies and procedures requires securing funding for digital patient change activities. It also requires the cultivating of resources within the organization. Human capital investment is a key part of the administrative change equation. This also might necessitate the use of outside resources to accomplish the change management and administrative overlays of the current state.
- Education – The creation of awareness at the digital patient level is a predisposing success factor. This includes preparation and implementation of focused coaching for the user. Equally, such awareness and training are also predisposing features of internal education. Taken together as simultaneous activities in a coordinated rollout for internal staff, success factors can be embedded from the outset.
The digital patient is the new horizon for healthcare organizations. This article, along with the others in the Digital Patient series of six articles can be used to create some going-in assumptions and planning factors. More detailed attributes, change management steps and education of affected parties, both internal and external, require resources that might be beyond the capabilities of the existing organization. EC-United is happy to discuss how we can drive success with the digital patient. For more information, you may reach out to Executive Partner Robert H. Booz (firstname.lastname@example.org).