Bringing Digital Thinking to the Healthcare Sector


Posted on: June 10, 2016 by Ruud van der Loo

When it comes to the healthcare industry, digital thinking is widely regarded as the connective tissue needed to make the logistics of linking healthcare delivery and services possible. For patients, healthcare professionals and hospital administrators it is the missing link in bringing the industry into the modern age, offering the kind of revolution that we’ve seen in the retail, manufacturing, and transport sectors.

Delivering quality and safety in healthcare is clearly the number one priority for any organization, and is the main goal for every hospital. Ultimately, organizations need to ensure that by offering a superior patient experience they will convert patients into advocates for the institution. This is crucial; a high patient experience score is increasingly a decisive factor in whether a patient chooses one hospital, or another, when it comes to further treatment.

Digital transformation offers great, new ways of engaging patients and increasing the level of patient activity.

Then, the issue shifts to become a question of where to invest in the smartest way to deliver the greatest value for money.

Patient Empowerment

People are taking on more and more responsibility for their own wellbeing; they want to be empowered to make informed choices about their own levels of care. Modern patients are looking for a personalized service. Self-service tools and a seamless experience — where support can be secured anytime, and from any location – are critical when it comes to choosing the right healthcare provider.

This goes hand in hand with the key goals of the hospital, and so hospitals should establish long term relationships with their patients, while in parallel moving to improve the patient experience and deliver high quality care for less money.

The Role of Digital Innovation

Creating a digital integrated healthcare business infrastructure that connects patients, healthcare staff and providers through the whole continuum of care is the only way to achieve true transformation. That has to be based on a smart digital investment roadmap, focused on the healthcare facility’s strategic goals and patient needs. Examples include anything from patient loyalty programmes through to wearables which monitor patient health and keep the patient’s family and friends informed of their progress.

However, without digital ownership at the board level in a health organization, orchestration across operations and patients will not happen. Old ways of working need to be adapted to cope with digital change. At the same time, all the investment has to provide competitive advantage. Not all stages of the patient journey are equal, and to deliver personalization requires segmentation by demographics and digital maturity. Finally, it is important to extend the reach of the journey to convert patients into advocates. The mission has to be to increase accessibility to services through digital.

Making the transition is not easy. The best place to start is by mapping out the patient’s journey through your own organization – creating a visual representation of all contact moments between patient and care provider.

Ideally, the map should be as honest as possible, depicting exactly how things are and what actually happens, rather than what should happen. The map should also show all opportunities for digital innovation, looking at how new technologies could speed up or increase the efficiency of the care process, as that will help anyone involved see other people’s views and roles, plus quickly identify problems and identify areas for digital improvement.

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About Ruud van der Loo

Vice-President Global Head Healthcare Market at Atos
Ruud is Vice-President Global Healthcare Market at Atos and has worked for the company since 2008. Ruud has a clear vision on the benefits of digital transformation in healthcare and life sciences. He has worked with senior Executives in healthcare around the world on how to use technology to enable them to withstand challenges they face in the fast moving world and adopt speed, agility and flexibility. The Atos Healthcare program is set up to power the shift to precision medicine by leveraging the digital shockwaves like optimizing real-time clinical delivery and the orchestration of collaboration and tele-health. Ruud has a long track record in Healthcare IT Services, with more than 20 years in senior executive management positions. In those roles he has gained vast experience in developing national and international strategies and sharing best-practices. Ruud is a strong believer in the fact that IT plays an important, maybe even the most important, role in the transformation to Value Based Healthcare.