Healthcare Transformation

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Blockchain in Health IT Interoperability

By Mutaz Shegewi

Blockchain interoperability needs time and momentum to mature toward a wider scale of adoption and to truly impact healthcare. However, the future is now and the market clearly reflects much buzz around the technology and its potential for hard-coding change. Blockchain interoperability could pave the way toward forming a next-generation vehicle for data exchange that contributes to digital transformation in provider organizations through its network effect.


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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.


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Patient engagement is a journey that offers an advantageous paradigm for healthcare digital transformation strategies. Conceptually, it builds on an appreciation of the changing role for patients (and their families) in modern day healthcare and the importance of generating efforts that organize towards engaging them as care-seeking consumers. In application, patient engagement and its underlying technologies can transform care-seeking consumers into new patients and empower existing patients to become more involved in their health and care. With time this journey can culminate into a digital transformation end state, which combines a mix of patient engagement technologies that collectively achieve an inimitable, competitive, and highly necessary advantage for the provider organization that is conducive to success.

IDC Health Insights recently published two DecisionScape reports on patient engagement, IDC TechScape: U.S. Healthcare Provider Patient Engagement Technologies, 2017 and IDC PlanScape: Patient Engagement for Digital Transformation. The TechScape supplies insights into the risks and business impact of patient engagement technologies to allow provider organizations to better match the technologies to their relative appetite for risk and make informed decisions regarding them. The PlanScape provides a decision-making tool to justify strategic investments and opportunities for providers implementing patient engagement technologies as part of digital transformation strategies. These two reports work in tandem, as the TechScape offers a visual representation of patient engagement technology adoption based on their assessment and characterization into transformational, incremental, or opportunistic technologies; while the PlanScape outlines the who, what, why, and how of patient engagement for digital transformation.


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IDC Health Insights recently published IDC Survey: Provider Investment Plans for Robotics. This survey presents key findings from the healthcare section of IDC’s 2017 Worldwide Robotics Survey. The goal of the survey was to assess current and future robotics adoption patterns, use cases, and application areas, as well as investment trends for robots and drones. The results focused on robotics adoption, use cases, and investment plans by U.S. healthcare providers at hospitals with 200+ beds. While the adoption of drones for healthcare utilization is minimal and expected to remain so in the near future, the use of robots in healthcare will yield increased investment in the coming years.


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During a discussion on health IT and electronic medical records, a senior physician once said to me "I feel after so many years of medical school and decades worth of practice, I ended up as a typist." Earlier today, a massive ransomware attack infected computers worldwide and went as far as to seriously disrupt operations in the UK National Health Service. We are in a new age for healthcare, one with immeasurable challenge and concerns.



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