Healthcare presents a unique case for DX because of its complex and challenging nature. Nowhere is this precedent more applicable than for the United States, where regulatory frameworks (e.g., MACRA), incentive programs (e.g., QPP, MIPS, and APMs), professional and community advocacy, and consumer-driven market forces are shifting healthcare priorities. These factors are driving the need for data-driven decisions and consumer engagement to recalibrate care from the mere fulfillment of fee for service and driving volume to the realization of pay for performance and driving value. U.S. healthcare organizations have much to gain by embracing DX on their journey toward value-based goals and responding to future challenges.
Digital technologies are changing organizations far and wide. IDC forecasts worldwide spending on digital transformation (DX) across all industries to expand at a CAGR of 17.9% through 2021 to more than $2.1 trillion. This is creating a global landscape with new technologies, players, ecosystems, and ways of doing business for organizations of every size, industry, and context. However, healthcare has traditionally, and rather admittedly, lagged behind other industries in the adoption of information technology and use of digital mediums.
U.S. healthcare organizations and leaders are now facing mounting pressures. There is an increased demand for new revenue streams as conventional reimbursement models favor the shift from volume to value-based programs to improve care for individuals, improve the health of populations, and lower costs. This requires quicker and convenient access to digitized clinical, financial, and operational information. In addition, aging clinical staff and resulting staffing shortages are coupled to a new consumer ethos favoring convenience over a relationship with a clinician. This emerging consumerist market character points toward the need for new service delivery models and product offerings, powered by digital capabilities. Furthermore, challenges such as rising levels of obesity, patients living with one or more chronic conditions, an aging population, and a widely unchecked healthcare spend are emphasizing the need for U.S. healthcare organizations to prioritize digital transformation and act on it. Healthcare DX can no longer be ignored.
According to IDC, DX is successively built as an organization becomes more sophisticated and prone to impact five key elements: leadership, omni-experience, information, operating model, and worksource. IDC's five elements of DX and how they apply to U.S. healthcare is expanded upon in greater detail in the recent IDC Perspective Healthcare Digital Transformation: A Way for U.S. Healthcare to Think Digital and Get Digital Done (IDC #US43117617, Oct 2017). Opportunities and challenges are outlined on all five elements for U.S. healthcare executives to consider as a way to undertake the DX journey. Furthermore, IDC survey data supports key findings for each of the elements across the U.S. healthcare vertical to further empower decision-makers for provider and payer organizations with actionable insights. How well healthcare leaders navigate their organizations through the complex U.S. healthcare wilderness and transform them along the way to thrive in the future digital economy will be a direct result of how early they think digital and get digital done.
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