The first big step has already been taken: the world’s healthcare system has been widely digitized recently, spending over 1.3 trillion dollars in 2021 and projected growth of 10.4% year-on-year. The United States is a trendsetter; some of its main cities have invested heavily in healthcare. In 2022, San Francisco led the way in healthcare technology investment with $6.1 billion, followed by New York and Boston, according to public data at the end of last year.
Now, the next task for the healthcare world is more significant and challenging: to connect the enormous volumes of data meaningfully and with a patient-centered mindset.
It is vital to abandon silo thinking and focus on the whole process and system. The industry must go beyond the business platform’s mind frame for this to happen effectively. This means that companies need to use new technologies to connect different groups of users and facilitate interactions between them.
The vision of business platforms
As we see in segments such as social media, last-mile delivery, personal transportation, or e-commerce marketplaces, to name a few, where business platforms are the market standard, the quality, breadth, and depth of the links within the network, as well as the volume of transactions carried out, drive their use, multiply the added value for all members, attract new users, generate more engagement among participants and open up new monetization options.
Specifically, in the healthcare industry, a platform that creates connected value and facilitates interactions can be vital to addressing the historical challenges of healthcare. It would make it possible to eliminate patient data fragmentation, reduce transaction costs, increase the knowledge of professionals, or provide end-to-end transparency, including all system providers. It would also support the sustainability of the healthcare system, a topic on all countries’ agendas.
This model also creates financial value, as the platform model is more attractive to investors. A report by Summit Health found that healthcare platforms are valued 2.4X higher than pipeline digital health companies.
Challenges along the way: data performance
On the path to a business platform paradigm shift, companies face some challenges. One of them is to improve data performance. That is, to have the capture, storage, analysis, and interpretation mechanisms in place to obtain the maximum value from them, accelerate decision making and deliver answers as quickly as possible.
Electronic health records (EHR) are already standardized. Once again, the challenge lies in connecting them and making good use of the tool, complying and enforcing compliance with the regulatory framework not only of a country but also with international standards.
This is important because many of the solutions that make up the mosaic of tools used by healthcare organizations are increasingly in dialogue with each other, but only sometimes with the same quality parameters. Thus, the bidirectional API (application programming interface) allows different applications to “talk” with each other, enabling the exchange of patient data in real time between professionals and providers. At the same time, it eliminates redundancies and errors. It brings all patient practices, even those as diverse as one visit to a dentist and another, months later, to a cardiologist, into a unified view. Even with suitable devices and sensors, this view can reflect patient interaction in the hospital or at home, with the appropriate criteria for safeguarding information.
The ultimate goal: customer experience
The ultimate challenge of the healthcare industry’s digital transformation is to break the historical gaps in customer experience and patient satisfaction.
The idea of associating healthcare delivery with endless delays, complex paperwork, authorizations that come and go, and various other inefficiencies should become a thing of the past.
Today it is time for companies in the industry to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies to provide the service that people need in an innovative and economically sustainable way for the institution and the healthcare system.