The healthcare industry has lagged behind in implementing digital transformation strategies. According to a survey by Adobe, only 7% of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies had gone digital, compared to 15% of companies in other industries.
Despite this, the healthcare market is huge. The US is projected to spending $5.7 trillion by 2026 on healthcare. It is essential for CFOs to get well-versed in emerging digital technologies and use it for providing better care and also to bring in more business.
“The lack of advanced financial analytic tools, strategic dysfunction caused by failed software integrations and outdated dashboard and decision support systems has put focus on the immediate technology needs of chief financial officers,” says Doug Brown, President of Black Book Research.
Black Book surveyed nearly 1,800 hospital and health provider chief financial officers, vice presidents of finance and RCM, controllers, business office managers, analyst staff, consultants. Ninety-three percent of all provider respondents state that missing capabilities and redundant or conflicting systems were identified in Q2 2020 to drive immediate financial systems rationalization and acquisitions. In these months of the pandemic crisis, 84% of surveyed hospitals and 79% of large physician practices confirmed that they performed audits on the existing state of their digital transformation.
Cent percent of all CFOs surveyed recognize they will experience a significant revenue decline this fiscal year and they will have to adjust spending accordingly, but only 12% expect they will need to cut or defer spending on their financial systems digital transformation. Eighty-one percent of surveyed CFOs and senior leaders revealed the absolute and immediate need for digital transformations for long term survival of their healthcare organization.
Experts are suggesting immediate investments in big data due to the advantages it can provide and can be kickstarted fast. Big data helps reduce the rate of medication errors. With patient record analysis that systems can flag the inconsistencies between drug prescriptions and a patient’s health. It can also alert health patients and professionals if there is a potential risk of a medication error.
Data can also help in facilitating preventive care and reduce the number of returning patients. Big data can help in the estimation of future admission rates for hospitals and clinics and allocate the required and proper staff to provide care to patients. This can help to reduces emergency room wait times if a facility is understaffed.
Brown also states that most CFOs understand what the pandemic has proved and there is the need to speed up digital transformation initiatives to not only survive but to prosper in the new normal. He adds, “For CFOs eager to expedite their organization’s digital transformation, the standardization and simplification leaders want in their back-end processes are allowing for less complicated, faster adoption despite the times.”
The survey also found that most providers are navigating these challenges through empowering virtual health (87%), initiating highly patient positive experiences (73%) and confronting radically sinking margins with layoffs and process changes (54%).
The new normal expected in the next decade in terms of technological advancements includes cloud-based storage of medical records, AI-based diagnostics, and integration of information across the care continuum in and outside the hospitals.