These are the top 5 digital innovation priorities for hospitals

By ERIN DIETSCHE

Sep 21, 2017 – Healthcare organizations are looking for breakthrough ideas, particularly when it comes to digital technologies.

A new survey from AVIA and the American Hospital Association zoomed in on just how leaders are eyeing the transformation of healthcare.

Conducted in December 2016, AVIA and AHA interviewed 317 individuals from hospitals and health systems: 44 CEOs and 273 other innovation leaders.

The consensus among respondents seemed to be that ingenuity is important. Eighty-six percent indicated digital innovation is tied to their long-term strategy, and three-quarters said pursuing it is necessary for a competitive advantage.

As such, they named five key priorities related to digital innovation:

    • Patient-generated data and customized services. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they’re looking for data that will help improve the patient experience and quality of care.
    • Network utilization and management. Twenty-nine percent indicated they want to find solutions to help their hospital as it takes on increased financial risk.
    • Referral management and in-network retention. Again, 29 percent said they hope to find technologies that will match the right patient to the right physician at the right time.
    • Social community support. Twenty-eight percent are seeking ways to improve the whole patient journey, from care coordination to outcomes.
    • Convenient patient access (including telemedicine). Of the respondents, 28 percent are actively looking for a solution to meet patient demand.

But it’s not all easy. Those surveyed pointed out a number of challenges and barriers they face when it comes to innovative thinking.

Some of the obstacles are financial in nature. Slightly over half (52 percent) of leaders said they’re holding off on digital innovation due to a lack of capital. Sixty percent expressed that they haven’t seen a large enough ROI from previous digital solution investments.

Other barriers stem from a different issue. Thirty-seven percent noted they’re refraining from digital innovation due to regulatory uncertainty.

Operational roadblocks also pose a problem. Only 45 percent said they have a standard process to assess whether to pilot a digital solution. On top of that, 70 percent don’t believe their IT department has sufficient resources to support digital innovation.

For organizations looking to overcome these challenges, AVIA and AHA recommend following in the footsteps of hospitals that have found success in digital innovation endeavors.

Based on the survey, there seem to be four actions that can accelerate digital innovation:

      • Providing sufficient IT resources
      • Dedicating a specific pool of funding
      • Developing a flexible budget cycle
      • Reserving a portion of each service line leader’s budget

When all of these actions are taken, a hospital can speed up its digital innovation by one year, according to AVIA and AHA.