You may have noticed the plethora of blogs and articles recently on the concept of “digital platform.” Setting aside semantics and current hype, I believe this architecture paradigm is very well suited for the health industry.
Most health delivery organisations, such as hospitals, typically have a disparate and aging technology landscape. The political climate, failure of large health IT programs and budget cuts are all contributing to cautious spending and a limited appetite for large and risky projects. In the context of an aging population, costs are increasing and we are witnessing questionable health outcomes for patients. Can technology help these organisations?
Although the answer to this question is much broader than technology (i.e. new models of care, redesigned IT operating model, culture, leadership, etc.), the implementation of a new digital health platform will provide a new set of capabilities, allowing the organisation to get more out of its existing technology assets. This means that smaller incremental investments can be made to create shorter time-to-value, allowing CIOs and IT managers to build credibility within the organisation. Successful implementation of technology will deliver the value required by patients and staff.
The Shift to Digital Health
To provide a summary view of what we mean by a “digital health platform,” below is an extract from one of our thought-provoking leadership papers, The Shift to Digital Health and the Era of Healthcare 3.0:
Healthcare 3.0 delivers the next wave of productivity gains in healthcare delivery. It is not coming just from the delivery of information but also from the cross-linked aggregation of a more complete information corpus that understands the context of a transaction and therefore provides the critical information that is necessary to fulfil the obligation.
At the heart of this productivity gain is just-in-time information delivery. This is why many health systems are moving to hybrid clouds and have chosen platforms that naturally have better information-access properties. Despite the disruption to their environments, firms are implementing these platforms because they can cut latency to end clients, minimising the time it takes to get interaction and collaboration moving. They also offer an elastic capability to scale up and down with demand. And they bring rich information together cheaply and deliver it cheaply to an end user. These clouds are providing business advantages not only in their operating cost, but also in their operating model, very close to the end user. Networks and data centres are beginning this shift because it enables users to employ data inside and outside of an organisation to derive maximum value from the information supply chain.
From a technology perspective, the vision for digital health is made possible by a layered series of systems that collect, filter, analyse, link and present data in a growing degree of refinement and value. IT infrastructure is essential to creating a clinically integrated network to improve population health. Following years of investment in advanced EHR applications and related technologies, healthcare organisations now have the potential to capitalise on these assets and accelerate key business and clinical transformations.
To achieve this, though, they need to optimise the e-health systems and services available to them:
At the lowest level reside Systems of Record. These systems are responsible for integrating structured and unstructured datasets from multiple sources. Feeds to upstream systems are augmented with an API marketplace that can be semantically linked and can curate data for upstream value. Systems of Insight, fed with data from systems of record, provide a surveillance capability that recognises patterns in population data and care management characteristics. These systems can identify impending high-risk clinical events, gaps in care coordination or noncompliant patient situations.
At the highest level lie Systems of Engagement. This layer describes a large portfolio of clinical and business process services that support patients, providers and care coordinators via integrated and collaborative services.
The Digital Future
Regulatory pressure, new technologies and patient expectations are pushing healthcare providers toward systems and models that provide convenience and improved care for less. Organisations need to respond to new rules of engagement with new IT paradigms. Digital health promises to improve health outcomes and reduce the overall cost of care. While the transition requires an investment in new technologies and ways of doing business, the supporting technologies, systems and methods are rapidly maturing, growing in power and falling in cost.
By applying relevant technology and automation to every aspect of healthcare management, provider and payer organisations will be able to deliver high-quality care to patients in an efficient and sustainable manner. As a result, the transition from volume to value will be smoother and have a much better chance of yielding the results all healthcare providers desire for their patients and their practices.
For more information and to download the full paper, visit csc.com/power-forward-anz/health.
David Pare is Chief Technology Officer, Healthcare & Life Sciences. David is an innovative thinker with 20 years of experience in technology management consulting, helping organisations through their digital transformation. Using a structured approach to innovation, David uses a mix of design, integrative thinking and strategy to help organisations be more creative in defining their strategy. Having spent over a decade in the digital health industry, David is also the HISA State chair for WA and he is heavily involved in the digital health community in Australia.