On the way to digital maturity

As health systems across Europe are recovering from the COVID crisis, the importance of accelerating digital maturity has never been more evident, a topic that will be discussed in more depth at HIMSS22 Europe this week.

But in this evolving healthcare landscape, how do we assess the success of digital transformation and what results should we aim to maximize the return on investment?

“The maturity of healthcare organizations is directly related to their ability to acquire, manage and connect patient data, the great benefits and results of data consolidation and connection, and how digital healthcare platforms can help build a ‘more efficient data-driven healthcare that can benefit all stakeholders,’ says David Labajo, vice president (VP), GE Healthcare digital sales Europe.

To achieve digital maturity in healthcare, it believes relevant and qualified information needs to be captured not just in the electronic medical record (EMR), but across all IT systems and departments.

“The next step is to be able to consolidate and link all this information. For this we need to eliminate data silos in organizations and be able to aggregate, consolidate and manage all the different data streams, “adds Labajo.” Once this is achieved, we will be ready to build a data-driven healthcare organization and apply artificial intelligence (AI) on such data to allow patient segmentation, risk assessment, prioritization and early diagnosis, personalize treatment and allow greater personal patient follow-up “.

Labajo also underlines the importance of collaboration between healthcare professionals, sector operators and startups, to create “an internal and external ecosystem” that can work together to develop, integrate and make digital solutions available.

Involve the workforce

Meanwhile, Professor Sam Shah, chief medical strategy officer at men’s health startup Numanbelieves that the needs of the workforce and end users should be at the forefront of digital transformation.

“Digital maturity is more than just about data, infrastructure and technology, it’s also about workforce and user needs,” says Shah. “It is likely to mean different things to different people who work in different environments. Basically, it will need the right political conditions, strategy and funding. More importantly, the needs of the workforce must be incorporated into any strategy. “

Roadblocks towards maturity

Although many countries around the world have defined policies and allocated resources to support digital maturity assessment, there are still many hurdles to overcome.
‘The challenges of reaching digital maturity are as much cultural as they are technical and organizational,’ says Professor Shah. “One of the biggest blocks we see in most organizations is the lack of a coherent strategy, insufficient funding and the absence of organizational design.”

Another obstacle is how to manage huge volumes of health data, much of it unstructured, in silos and outside the system.

“Up to 30% of the world’s data is generated in the healthcare sector. The main block is that although we are collecting huge amounts of data, most of it is unused, without the right quality, isolated, disconnected, fragmented and unstructured, so we cannot activate it to obtain better information and improve clinical and operational efficiency. ”Explains Labajo. “Furthermore, data governance is a major challenge and we need to understand it before we can move to fully data-driven healthcare.”

Labajo and Shah will continue the conversation during the session Digital Maturity: Goals and Roadmap at the HIMSS22 European conference and exhibition.

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