“From an organizational perspective, digital transformation has required us to evaluate our organizational structure and leadership education.”
Christine Candio, President and CEO of St. Luke’s Hospital, recently gave us the pleasure of discussing her views on the transformational impact that technology has on the patient-care life cycle, as part of a collaborative industry report conducted by IIC Partners, including Furst Group and other Life Science and Healthcare Practice members.
How does digital transformation affect the patient care life cycle for your organization?
Our main goal with the utilization of enhanced digitization of our healthcare data is to improve the overall health and wellness of our patients. We see this evolving as we focus our goals around the ‘ownership’ of the patient record, our ability to use data to find opportunities to proactively manage patient populations, and to set a strategy in place for digital outreach to our patient populations and deliver care when and where they require it. From a data ownership perspective, we are in the process of implementing an integrated Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution, allowing for a single consolidated patient record. We are then layering on top of the EMR a patient portal which we will use to effectively communicate the overall status of a patient’s health, allowing them access to their records and be able to interact with our organization in real-time.
The long-term goal of this use of technology is to remove the historic silos of data and transition the ownership of those records to the patient to better manage their own health. In addition to the single EMR platform, we are implementing a robust data analytics and population health solution that will enable us to identify populations of patients and their associated risk level. By using this data, we can proactively focus on patients that are at high or rising risks to better manage and identify care opportunities.
How does digital transformation change the demands in existing leadership structures and what new roles arise as a result of digital transformation?
From an organizational perspective, digital transformation has required us to evaluate our organizational structure and leadership education. Over the past few years, we have identified positions and committees such as a Chief Medical Information Officer, Population Health Physician Liaison and the Informatics Committee. These aim to better align the needs of physicians with information technology being delivered by the organization. We have also created new leadership areas such as a population health department. As our strategy begins to take place around telehealth, we will need to consider the leadership necessary to support this initiative as well.
What are the largest challenges when it comes to digital transformation and patient care for your organization?
There are a number of challenges when considering and implementing these new technologies. The largest opportunity that we are currently managing is our ability to keep up with the ‘rate of change’ with these technology solutions. Although the amount of data and the capabilities and utilization of that data is bringing a tremendous amount of opportunities to the healthcare industry, these solutions are being developed faster than many organizations can implement them. When considering this and the ever-changing regulatory environment, this constant and rapid rate of change on many healthcare providers, especially the physician community, can cause a tremendous amount of stress and burnout. It has been very important for us to build a strong relationship with the physician community that includes their involvement in the process from strategic planning to solution implementation. These solutions need to be carefully rolled out in a mindful way that takes into consideration the impact on our healthcare providers, their workflows, and our patients.
How does digital transformation of other key players in the healthcare system (hospitals, health insurance, pharmaceutical companies) impact your business?
The ability to have data transparency across all sectors/players in the healthcare industry is critical for our organization and our patients. The capabilities to data mine clinical activities within our single EMR is very beneficial, but still leaves the overall patient health profile incomplete. Without access to insurance and claims data, any services provided outside of our system are not acknowledged, and will possibly falsely show as a gap in patient care or opportunity. Without the data from pharmacy beneficiary managers and pharmaceutical companies, we will not have access to medications that patients may be paying out of pocket for, again falsely showing gaps in medication compliance. These false positives will be a drain on our healthcare resources and frustrating for patients. It is critical for our organization and as an industry that we continue to push for data transparency and standards.
Do you find similar challenges in your organization? We’d love to hear your thoughts below in the Comments section.
You can find more insights on this topic in the full IIC Partners’ industry report, “Impact of Digital Transformation on the Patient Life Cycle,” which includes more interviews with top healthcare executives around the world.