Healthcare not immune to digital disruption
Innovative disruptive technologies are forcing a shake up of healthcare models and creating a new type of health consumer.
Digital disruption does two things. It creates a power shift, from the service provider to the service user. Think Uber and Air B&B. And it turns business models on their head.
The tipping point towards business models comes at a critical time in the health landscape, with budgets under continued pressure, one in five Australians affected by multiple chronic diseases* and one in three Australians visiting a GP more than six times a year.**
Technology has been shifting power to health consumers for some time. It started with the rise of the Internet, when disease-Googling patients started arriving in GP rooms armed with information they found online. Then a generation embraced wearables – from pedometres and heart monitors, to smart watches, FitBits and smart phones loaded with health and well being apps. They generate masses of data users may previously have only got via a GP appointment. Now they don’t have to go to their doctor. Their data does.
Other apps enable remote monitoring and diagnostics for those with chronic illnesses as patients assume greater control of their health in an increasingly digitally disrupted healthcare world.
On the health provider front, digital transformation has tended to focus on electronic health record gathering, sharing and workflows. The benefits of shared information between healthcare teams are obvious – but not without problems. Patient care is compromised if data entry errors are introduced and flow through the system.
The old healthcare model uses technology too of course, but differently. It is cost prohibitive and limited by inflexibility, using high-cost, high-bandwidth, specialist medically-authenticated equipment, often requiring dedicated fixed connections.
Digital disruption in healthcare is about unlocking knowledge and capabilities. It requires new models that deliver benefits by making more information, more readily available, in more places. Done well, it can overcome cost and geographical barriers to access to deliver better care and outcomes, especially for the poor and those in rural, remote and indigenous communities.
It also means putting systems in place that address security of the information. Who owns the data? Who can access it? Share it?
Leaders in the healthcare field are realising they need a technology savvy healthcare workforce to give technology savvy consumers the ability to connect with them in new ways and on different devices.
The key to success in this new era is leveraging the disruptive technology and putting in place systems that give people the ability to use knowledge – anywhere, anytime – for the best outcome. That outcome might be getting a person out of hospital sooner – or helping them not to end up in hospital in the first place.
Technology is driving change – and systems and business models have to change with it.
The question then isn’t what is digital disruption in healthcare? It’s are you ready for it?
Wayne Bruce, CEO, Ccentric
* Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, New stats reveals 50% of Australians battling chronic disease, August 2015, http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2015-ley100.htm
** National Health Performance Authority, March 2015, One in every eight Australians sees a GP at least 12 times a year