At the HIMSS (Healthcare Information Management Systems Association) conference in Helsinki the other day, the breadth of digital solutions that promise healthcare transformation was outstanding. While digital tools have enabled us to do more at less cost in many areas, the healthcare world is still heavily influenced by Baumol’s cost disease (the cost structure of labor-intensive industries). is recieving.

In response, a recent project at the University of Twente in the Netherlands points out that in order for health care to truly benefit from digitalization, it needs to take a different approach to change.

“Digitalization isn’t just about using technology. Above all, it requires a different way of working, which requires vision, guts, and leadership,” researchers say.

Digital care

Digital healthcare has the potential to be non-negligible, such as the realization of personalized medical care and the reduction of the workload of preventive medical care that can curb rising medical costs. In departments that are almost always busy to the limit, the ability to absorb new technologies is often a limiting factor even before the pandemic exacerbates the problem.

Researchers have searched both the literature and practice to find ways to improve things and accelerate digitization in this area. At the heart of the recommendations is the government’s more active role in driving digitalization, and long-term policies are needed to get the process of change on track. The basis for this is the change in the way people work in the healthcare field.

“What we need to change is how we use human resources,” says researchers. “In addition to healthcare professionals, we need to utilize specialists and data analysts with technical and medical backgrounds.”

Supporting innovation

Researchers argue that an important starting point is to prevent healthcare institutions from seeing digitization as a cost-cutting tool above all else. Researchers think that when digitization is considered in the context of cost reduction, it is not clear how costs can be recovered and it is difficult for healthcare institutions to justify their investment in digitalization. Will end up. This discourages experimentation and innovation.

In addition, there are considerable problems in terms of interoperability, there are few systems that are linked, and it seems that effective information exchange has not been possible. The introduction of electronic medical records is a well-known example of problems in cooperation between systems in the process of digitization. Fragmented healthcare systems often lead organizations on their own path, further hampering interoperability.

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