Where to invest growing digital health dollars

According to the HIMSS22 State of Healthcare Report, 80% of healthcare leaders plan to increase their investment levels in digital health over the next five years.

The report also found that 60% describe themselves as “stuck in the planning and pre-implementation stages” of digital transformation, either because they lack the necessary infrastructure or because they lack high-quality patient and other data that required to achieve their goals. .

As more organizations open the digital front door, patient data and patient identification will become increasingly important, said Verato CEO Clay Ritchey. Verato is a healthcare digital transformation vendor.

We interviewed Ritchey to discuss the types of digital health investments that need to be made, getting health system leaders out of the planning and pre-implementation phase, the roles of CIOs and other C-suite leaders to “unlock” and the relationship between the digital front door and patient data.

Q. The vast majority of healthcare provider organizations are increasing their digital health investments, according to HIMSS. Where do you think the main investments should be made?

A. Healthcare organizations are upping their game when it comes to digitally transforming their operations, from behind-the-scenes administration to patient interactions at the check-in desk and exam rooms.

In fact, our recent report found that 99% of health system leaders consider investing in digital health initiatives vital to their ability to compete in the marketplace.

Healthcare leaders should focus on investing in these areas, but it is important to note that new technology is not enough. Healthcare organizations risk failing to realize the full potential of these efforts if they are not accompanied by time and monetary investment to ensure that their organization’s data is clean, accurate and organized, especially when it comes to basic elements such as patient identity.

After all, you can’t reach your patients or other consumers, or effectively analyze and manage your data, without knowing accurately and reliably who they are.

Q. Most health system leaders say they are stuck in upfront planning and implementation when it comes to digital health, according to HIMSS. In your experience, why do you think this is?

or. Interoperability and digital health are on the agenda of every healthcare CIO, but the challenge is that critical patient information is captured in siled systems. One barrier to true digital health transformation is that it requires a system with a consistent data model across the healthcare enterprise.

As patients, consumers, members enter health systems through various channels, starting as targets in marketing campaigns, potential walk-ins at affiliated clinics, or through telehealth visits, they enter the organization in various systems and throughout the care journey. patient data will be entered into multiple systems.

The complexity of getting a complete 360 ​​view of the patient, consumer or health plan member has certainly increased.

Q. What should healthcare CIOs and other C-suite executives do to avoid getting stuck?

A. It all comes back to the necessity of a strong foundation of accurate and reliable data upon which to digitize every aspect of a healthcare organization – from behind-the-scenes administrative operations to care delivery to patient interaction, whether it takes place in person or online – and should include basic patient data.

More healthcare organizations are looking to use digital tools and solutions in hopes of achieving goals such as eliminating staff burnout, automating administrative tasks, acting on more reliable healthcare or population health insights, and more.

This digital-first approach has huge potential to solve some of the biggest challenges in healthcare today, but it also means that organizations are inundated with more streams of data than ever before.

This data and digital overload can leave organizations feeling paralyzed, unable to unlock the true value of their digital investments, or even make the case for how and why to begin their digital transformation journey .

Reliable and accurate patient data is key. Healthcare organizations must be able to accurately match and unify data across all systems – EHR, CRM, telehealth, patient portal, call center, PACS, home health, pharmacy, etc. And they need to do this across their entire network: hospitals, physician groups, ambulatory surgery centers, freestanding radiology departments, long-term care and clinics to understand who’s who.

Knowing who is who will create a connection between systems, and once that foundation is in place, healthcare leaders must make a compelling and powerful case for the digital transformation of their institution with everyone from providers to from the front line to the decision makers in the boardroom.

Having this solid foundation also makes it easier to truly understand the ROI your organization can achieve during the digital transformation process, and it’s easier to make and stick to a decision once you have all the points of view. appropriate data in place.

Q. You suggest that as more organizations open the digital front door, patient data and patient identification will become increasingly important. Please elaborate.

A. In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, patient identification is becoming increasingly important, but also more complex and complicated. Names vary. People move. Gender identities and family structures change.

Did the John Smith in our EHR end up the one who lives on Main Street or the one who lives on Maple Avenue in the next town? Is Michelle Johnson in our emergency room right now the person who had her appendix removed last year or the patient we’re currently treating for Alzheimer’s—or both?

As our patients’ needs and identities evolve, healthcare technology must evolve with them. Leaders in healthcare organizations increasingly recognize that legacy tools for identity resolution are no longer up to par.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to our latest survey are concerned or extremely concerned that inaccurate patient data is negatively impacting the quality of their care and their outcomes. Additionally, statistics show that historically, 10% of medical records are duplicates due to poor patient identity management, and nearly a third of insurance claims are denied due to identity issues.

It shouldn’t be like this. It is now becoming much easier for healthcare organizations to more accurately and consistently match a patient with their records from a variety of sources – even outside of the EHR – to help organizations better understand their patients. and rely on much more accurate data.

To transform healthcare IT infrastructure, you need to have the same patient data across all systems and across all organizations in the network. This has multiple benefits for providers and patients. It helps organizations give patients and their providers anywhere, anytime access to their health data.

It gives patients easier access to online portals. Ultimately, better data gives providers and patients a more frictionless care experience, while also enabling a much more successful digital transformation across the healthcare organization.

Understanding who’s who in the healthcare enterprise also supports strategic initiatives such as M&A, customer-centric transformation, equitable healthcare, risk management, denied claims and patient satisfaction.

After all, the most advanced technologies are not enough. To truly transform and remain competitive in the digital age, leading healthcare organizations understand that they also need to know who their current and future patients are as much as possible.

Tweet: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.

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