Healthcare Management in the Digital Age

Healthcare management is being impacted by digital technology, but what changes are unique to this industry?

Below, we’ll learn about healthcare management in the digital age – specifically, we’ll focus on how technology is impacting healthcare.

We’ll learn about:

  • Challenges posed by digital technology
  • Opportunities presented
  • Myths about technology

Ultimately, we’ll discover that digital technology offers a unique set of obstacles, but there are significant rewards awaiting those who adapt.

Healthcare Management: Challenges, Obstacles, and Myths

Healthcare is changing drastically, thanks to digital technology … but that doesn’t make it easy.

This industry faces unique obstacles when compared to other industry.

In part, this is due to healthcare regulations and the complex web of interests involved.

Here are a few challenges facing healthcare managers today:

Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare regulations place a burden on the healthcare industry that doesn’t exist in the private sector.

While each country’s regulations are different, these regulations can include:

  • Healthcare information security
  • Reporting requirements
  • Educational requirements

Among others.

These regulations combine to add more complexity and obstacles to the industry, further burdening the system, slowing down progress, and increasing healthcare costs.

On top of these problems, digital technology is offering promises of progress, but presents some of its own unique challenges…

Healthcare Worries Over Security

Healthcare information, along with financial information, requires unbreakable security.

Security concerns have prevented, in some cases, around half of organizations from adopting new technology. In Change Healthcare’s 8th Annual Pulse Report, this was named the top concern for survey respondents.

A different survey showed that security spending is on the rise in healthcare.

These reports highlight the fact that security is a top obstacle for digital adoption in healthcare, but it’s not the only one.

Physicians Are Reluctant

Some physicians are inherently distrustful of technology, for the reasons mentioned above.

Others find it slower than using paper records:

  • There is a learning curve to new technology
  • Data entry can take longer
  • Software has strict requirements and doesn’t allow omissions

Other physicians find technology to be too impersonal, lacking the “human touch.”

However, Consumers Want Digitized Healthcare

Today’s patients are busy, and they love the benefits conferred by technology … sometimes in opposition to the desires of doctors.

Research by Accenture proves this:

  • 41% percent of patients are willing to switch providers to gain access to their medical records
  • 84% believe they should have full access to their health records
  • 36% of physicians shared this belief

Another survey by Accenture further highlighted patients’ expectations of technology:

  • 75% view wearable devices as beneficial to understanding their health condition
  • 66% said they would be willing to used home-based diagnostics
  • 61% said they would use virtual health assistants
  • 44% said they have accessed their electronic health records in the past year

Beyond consumer demand, there are other ways that healthcare can be improved by technology.

AI can assist doctors with diagnoses, improve patient compliance, and offer insight into medical data.

Mobile healthcare management can decrease administrative costs, improve the customer experience, and free up time for healthcare staff.

Myths Around Digital Technology in Healthcare

Many of the myths that surround digital technology are based on views held by healthcare professionals … not patients.

These misconceptions include:

  • Patients prefer face-to-face interaction over digital delivery
  • Patients don’t want to use digital services for healthcare
  • Patients don’t want control over their health information
  • Patients feel digital technology is too insecure

As we have already seen, however, the majority of these assumptions are just assumptions.

Repeated surveys and studies have demonstrated that patients enjoy the convenience and control offered by technology.

Security is a concern, of course. However, digital technology is preferred as long as this security is taken care of.

The Future of Healthcare Management

What does the future hold for healthcare?

Digital technology is here.

Despite obstacles, healthcare will change.

In a complex, changing environment, healthcare managers will need to:

  • Enhance awareness of technology’s benefits
  • Work to understand what patients truly want
  • Help physicians and staff understand the digital landscape
  • Take advantage of cutting-edge technology

All this is no easy feat.

There will be roadblock after roadblock.

However, the benefits are more than worth the effort:

  • Improved patient experiences
  • Better workflows for healthcare staff
  • Higher quality diagnoses and medical care
  • Faster care

Among many others.

To realize these benefits, the healthcare professional must embrace change.

Conclusion: Digital Is a Must in Today’s Economy

Successful change isn’t easy.

Many resist change. It is time-consuming. And it takes a great deal of effort.

On top of this, it requires careful planning, ongoing management, and leadership.

However change in healthcare is ever-present.

It drives the economy. And, fortunately or unfortunately, it leaves behind those who can’t keep up.

To become digitally mature, healthcare professionals should:

  • Understand the digital landscape
  • Adopt digital tools as much as possible
  • Learn about change management

Someday, the pace of change may slow down.

For now, though, we can only expect to see more disruption.

Rather than resisting this change, healthcare professionals should recognize the benefits and adapt early.

Those that do will gain a competitive advantage and reap large rewards in the years to come.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.