The last few years have witnessed, if not a revolution in the healthcare industry, then certainly a significant evolution. Digital transformations, accelerated to meet a new reality and changing patient needs and expectations, necessitated the implementation of new technologies, tools and strategies. Read on to find out what healthcare leaders got right, what to expect in 2023 and how to overcome the most pressing challenges.
COVID-19 accelerated digital transformations across the healthcare industry
COVID-19 forced healthcare providers to conduct dramatic (and swift) evaluations of their digital capabilities, offers and strategies. The speed and breadth at which the pandemic spread around the world took most people by surprise and demanded the integration of trailblazing technologies, triggered an appraisal of digital transformation plans and led to the creation of new apps and platforms.
Some of the most significant developments were seen in telehealth. Given social distancing requirements and lockdowns, consumers and providers alike looked for ways to safely access healthcare services and administer patient care. While telehealth options predated the pandemic, out of necessity they surged in popularity. McKinsey reports that in April 2020, telehealth utilization for office visits and outpatient care was 78 times higher than in February 2020.
The increase in telehealth services, combined with the need to work remotely, called for enhanced methods of sharing, accessing, verifying, analyzing and protecting data. To meet these needs, hospitals and clinics had to increase the interoperability of their computer systems, so that doctors and patients could exchange and operationalize information.
Central to this effort was a transition to the cloud and implementation of cloud computing technology. Though the worst days of the pandemic seem to be over, cloud migration efforts will only increase in their intensity. GlobalNewswire reports that the global healthcare cloud infrastructure market is expected to grow from $50.13 billion in 2021 to $109.10 billion in 2026.
Companies contemplating this undertaking doubtless have many questions about ensuring security, maximizing investment, implementing a scalable solution and mitigating risks. Moreover, how much will a cloud migration disrupt daily operations and what is a realistic timeline (and cost) for achieving it? That’s why it’s crucial to find a cloud service partner that has a proven track record of planning tailor-made cloud migration journeys that fit an organization’s business, reflect its goals and fully optimize costs and cloud infrastructures.
How will software solutions help healthcare providers in 2023?
A post-COVID landscape is beginning to take shape, and after adjusting to changing patient needs and expectations, the healthcare industry should look ahead to consolidating gains. This means focusing on controlling costs, securing data and providing easy accessibility through cloud-based solutions.
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Cloud technologies present huge opportunities for the healthcare industry – especially in terms of innovation. Real-world value in use cases can be seen from the use of analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), automation and digitization. According to McKinsey, “A detailed review of cloud cost-optimization levers and value-oriented business use cases foresees more than $1 trillion in run-rate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) across Fortune 500 companies as up for grabs in 2030, a number that will grow as cloud facilitates the adoption of emergent technologies such as augmented reality and blockchain. This $1 trillion is less a prediction than an estimate of what should be possible, provided companies aggressively pursue the cloud opportunity – and a call to action, because early adopters will capture a disproportionate share of the total value.”
Healthcare in 2023 will continue to build on the developments introduced over the last few years. Value-based care, still a priority, will take on a more virtual role, often in the form of hospital-at-home. Indeed, Forrester predicts that by 2029, nearly 30% of evaluation and management visits will be conducted in a virtual care setting.
Central to the effectiveness of healthcare, both in the present and future, is customer-focused data sharing. The democratization of date will continue, meaning that personal healthcare information must become more portable across the healthcare ecosystem – across channels, platforms and applications. Cloud computing delivers the ease of access that healthcare providers seek and customers expect.
Of course, cybersecurity and identitfy management will continue to be areas of concern, which is why the implementation of embedded software should go along with a migration to cloud architectures. Any connected system is at risk of cyberattacks, especially one that not only handles vast amount of personal data, but also access to valuable medical devices, equipment and resources that hospitals and clinics rely on. The dependability, speed and versatility of embedded software make it a priority for CTOs looking to upgrade infrastructures while controlling costs.
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To get the solutions they need, healthcare providers will need to look to software outsourcing
The challenges in implementing cloud-based technologies are significant, but not insurmountable. One of the biggest roadblocks for organizations seeking to undertake a cloud migration is centered around talent – namely, a lack thereof. Statista research indicates that over the past five years, half of organizations surveyed have experienced a shortage of skills which has consistently held them back. While the inability to find skilled professionals in 2020 is largely blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a notable talent gap to be filled. In 2022, 70% of organizations experienced a skills shortage in tech.
It’s not just about finding any talent, but finding the right talent, often with niche expertise. This could be connected to a particular programming language or tech stack, but might even be related to the type of industry a company works in. Indeed, customized software solutions should take into account industry particularities, as healthcare, telecommunications, financial services and online sports betting, for example, will have different needs. Recruiting, onboarding and retaining experts with specialized competences not only demands a sizable financial investment but takes up valuable time and delays product launches. Given the fierce competition to get to market as fast as possible, this can be devastating for an organization’s bottom line.
Talent also impacts scalability, as any business that wants to grow needs to increase capacity. At the same time, scaling down in light of changing product engineering goals or unfavorable market conditions is also important. If a company is relying on in-house development teams, this means reducing hours, or worse, laying off highly skilled people, whose roles will be difficult to fill when the team needs to scale back up. But when dealing with a software outsourcing partner, it simply means restructuring the external team to better fit your needs. The elasticity in scaling up and down that a software development partner offers means the burden of recruiting, building, increasing and reducing a dedicated team does not fall on a client’s side. Moreover, the niche expertise can be transferred to in-house staff with various knowledge-sharing initiatives, or by simply working together on a project.
Read more: Cloud computing in healthcare
It’s worth remembering that since forward-thinking software should be evolutive, considerations need to be made for the full gamut of a software development life cycle, that is, ideation to release and beyond. Releasing software to a market successfully should not mark the end of its development, as more iterations will doubtless occur to reflect dynamic user expectations and needs. Reacting quickly to these, or even anticipating them, requires the proven expertise of a software partner that has experience implementing features and functionalities in a way that does not disrupt ongoing operations and retains a loyal customer base, while attracting new users. Healthcare providers are investing in software outsourcing teams who deliver rewarding tools for customers, so while the outsourced team concentrates on the desired software, the company that turned to them can focus on their core business. To truly maximize value, the goal should not be on cutting costs, but on controlling them.
Future-proofing healthcare solutions means finding a proven software partner
According to research from Boston Consulting Group, only 30% of digital transformations succeed in achieving their objectives. There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from internal challenges to external forces. Put simply, carrying out fundamental organizational changes at scale is difficult, for start-ups, scale-ups and modern enterprises. Integrating new technologies is crucial, but even more so is the human element that supports them. Indeed, skilled expertise, tried and tested operating models and culture cannot be underestimated. That’s why companies across sectors are turning to Software Mind, whose presence in 10 countries across three continents ensures time zone compatibility and seamless cooperation.
If you’d like to learn how Software Mind experts can help you migrate to cloud, maximize data, automate processes and speed up your software delivery, fill out the contact form below. Our experts are ready to help you on your digital transformation journey.
About the authorJoseph Schroeder
An Account Executive with over 40 years' experience delivering complex IT services and solutions, Joe has managed teams in North America, Europe and Asia. His diverse background across industries has seen Joe serve in a number of roles, including as co-founder of a cloud software company that specializes in AI, data science and digital transformation solutions. Passionate about delivering real-world value to clients, Joe provides software consultancy that combines business insights with technical know-how.