Digital transformation is becoming an ever more critical factor in the success of health organisations. With the pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency, digital transformation can be a powerful tool, however, it also comes with its own challenges. Whether your organisation is a health provider, insurance entity or NGO, these challenges must be met head-on to succeed.
Here are the top five common challenges your health organisation must confront when embarking on a digital transformation journey.
Data Security and Privacy
In today’s world, cybersecurity is crucial for IT and digital transformation teams. Security breaches continue to increase, with one in five Irish firms experiencing a cyber attack in 2022. Healthcare organisations in particular are targeted regularly, so making sure that sensitive patient data is kept secure and private is crucia. The 2021 ransomware attack on the Health Service Executive which caused huge country-wide disruption for hospitals throughout Ireland is a case in point.. And, of course, health organisations must abide by stringent regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA to protect patient data from unauthorised access, use or disclosure. This necessitates careful planning and implementation to ensure that patients' information is always safe and confidential. This means securing the perimeter as well as keeping a close watch on which internal team members can access data and when they can do so.
Legacy Systems Integration
The healthcare industry has a sizeable number of legacy systems which can be difficult to link up with modern digital technologies. This presents challenges when modernising, as organisations combine these legacy systems with new technologies in order to improve efficiency and data management. Though it may be a tricky process, proper legacy integration is essential for successful digital transformation in the health sector, as legacy systems often contain critical data, insights and patient information, which you cannot afford to lose.
A further key challenge that arises with digital transformation is the lack of interoperability between different healthcare data systems. There is a wide range of previously unconnected solutions that need to be connected. If communication between them is below par, it can lead to inefficiencies, mistakes and delays in treatment. To guarantee unimpeded operation across all systems as well as providing improved cross-functional reporting, a comprehensive interoperability strategy must be created and put into action during any transition period.
Changing User Work Practice and Workflows
Digital transformation changes the way healthcare providers work, which can be challenging for some to adapt to . Implementing new digital technologies often requires significant changes to workflows, training and re-skilling to ensure a smooth transition. Employees on the front lines may even resist transformation as workflow change can seem daunting. Nevertheless, adapting to more streamlined digital workflows is crucial to keeping pace and can improve transparency, reporting and compliance overall. In the end, digital transformation should lead to a more efficient, happier workforce – but that may take some effort.
Finally, incorporating new digital technologies can come with considerable costs, depending on which type or how much technology is implemented. Obviously, it is vital to consider these costs prior to making any changes or improvements and they should be addressed early and often in the planning stages, well before any outlay. To guarantee successful investments in such solutions, you’ll need to thoroughly assess solutions before purchase and ensure that any return on investment validates the cost associated with implementing them over time. In other words, digital transformation is only valuable if it actually adds value – not if it’s taken on simply for its own sake. Engaging with a digital partner early can greatly improve outcomes and help shape the scope of the project.
Don’t Wait to Modernise Your Healthcare Organisation
All in all, the digital transformation of healthcare organisations comes with its unique challenges, but these can be managed through due diligence and assessment – and finding the right partner.
At Codec, we’ve spent years developing the expertise to help properly manage successful digital transformation projects. Whether you’re still fully ensconced in legacy systems or simply looking to improve your digital processes, we’d be happy to help.