4 Lessons on Digital Transformation for Healthcare

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Chris Riegger


Written on June 28, 2021


Most will agree when I say that last year was a whirlwind. We saw our “normal” become not-so-normal in a matter of a few days.

Our team worked tirelessly with clients to get digital products to market that were, at that point, needed yesterday. In a way, COVID-19 lit a fire under many healthcare organizations. It helped us all realize how quickly we could spin up new essential, customer-facing products.

Today, we’re taking a step back from last year to give you an update of what’s going on in healthcare. 

Below are 4 critical lessons we’ve learned in the past year about where large providers are today with respect to digital transformation.

What is digital transformation?

Let’s start off with the basics. What exactly is digital transformation and specifially in the context of healthcare?

Simply put, digital transformation is the proces of taking a buisiness, that’s less digitally oriented, and strategically using digital technology to make a consumer experience better.

This does not mean that an organization should just create better digital tools for customers, the end. A large part of the “transformation” piece is building out tech platforms to support those digital customer interactions.

**Free tip: For more information about digital transformation, check out this video. In it, our leaders sit down and share what digitial transformation means for healthcare in detail. Or this video that outlines what healthcare providers can do to get ready for digital transformation.

#1 Healthcare providers are heavily investing in digital transformation

As an industry, healthcare has historically been slower to adopt digital. However, over the past couple of years, we’ve seen an increasing number of healthcare organizations actively seek digital transformation and invest in discrete digital capabilities.

Surely, investing in digital is a crucial competitive advantage considering Accenture’s recent report, How COVID-19 Will Permanently Alter Patient Behavior, that shares 60% of patients want to use technology more for communicating with healthcare providers and managing their conditions.

And, according to a Business Group on Health Survey, 80% of employers think virtual care will have a big impact on how people get care moving forward (up from 50% in 2018) and 53% of large employers say that implementing more virtual care solutions are their top initiative for 2021.

**Free tip: If your organization hasn’t invested in mobile engagement you might value this webinar recording. In it, Ballad Health shares how they built an EHR-integrated, patient-facing mobile application that delivers an all-in-one experience to customers.

#2 Although, providers have made progress in discrete digital capabilities, they lack a truly connected cohesive customer experience

Recent research shows that healthcare providers have made a lot of progress in discrete digital capabilities. For example:

  • Implementing ratings and reviews
  • Launching mobile applications
  • Standing up online billing

However, many have done very little to truly connect all digital features into a cohesive customer experience.

Although we see digital taking off, much of this work in healthcare organizations are siloed and therefore creates pain points for the end consumer. If healthcare providers are going to win more customers in today’s digital landscape, they will need to stop seeing digital as a collection of features. Rather, it’s essential to start seeing it as the way to build a better and more connected customer experience.

#3 Mobile is the next critical platform

We’ve seen an increased rate of willingness to use mobile apps to manage healthcare conditions.

44% of patients used new devices or apps to help manage conditions remotely during COVID-19 and 70% expect that the use of technology will be more prominent in their lives over the next 3 years.

While we believe it is still early in the adoption curve, many healthcare systems are choosing to take control of their mobile patient experience by building a branded, proprietary mobile application that directly integrates with their EHR.

Whatever your path, having a focused mobile customer engagement strategy will be critical for health systems looking to better serve the growing mobile native population.

#4 Customer journey mapping: couldn’t be more necessary but very few are doing it

Journey mapping is an activity that purposefully helps organizations better understand their customers’ needs, pain points, and overall how the end customer interacts with the organization’s digital tools and brand.

We recently surveyed 11 nationally ranked children’s hospitals to better understand their progress on achieving digital transformation. When we asked about journey mapping, 2 out of the 11 indicated that they had completed a full, cross-functional journey map.

“Customers experience roadblocks, dead ends and frustration in their journey. The more friction we put in front of potential customers, the less likely they are to complete the journey.” – Forbes

Why spend thousands of dollars on a consumer-facing product that does not meet the needs of the customer? Not only can journey mapping help you strategically set goals and expectations, but also truly understand what your customers need.

**Free tip: Do you know the very basics of how your patients engage with you on the web? This guide is full of questions, exercises, free tools, and more! Download our free guide today to make the most out of your web analytics platform and learn how your website stacks up against our clients.