Providers and payers are early in the process of starting digital transformations initiatives, but a significant percentage expect to invest in technologies in the coming months to change the way they serve and interact with patients.

Only 10 percent of providers and payers say they are actively implementing digital transformation initiatives, according to a recent survey from IDC Health Insights, one of the lines of business of IDC, an international consultancy. Research appeared in a report entitled, “IDC Survey: Payer and Provider Investment Plans for Digital Transformation.”

In defining digital transformation, IDC Health Insights studied the ways in which healthcare organizations interact with customers and patients, involving a wide-ranging approach to change that includes leadership, “omni-experience,” information technology, operating model and workforce transformation. The new survey highlights digital transformation and infrastructure and operating model transformation focusing on people, legacy systems, culture, partnerships, leadership, and incentive systems.

Also See: How CIOs can develop a vision for digital transformation

While only one in 10 provider and payer organizations are currently executing these wide-ranging projects, but by 2018, IDC Health Insights data show that 42 percent of providers and 58 percent of payers plan to have programs in place, says Jeff Rivkin, an IDC research director.

Jeff Rivkin

Currently, most existing digital transformation initiatives are in a pilot testing or research phase. In both industry segments, digital transformation comprises about 30 percent of new information technology initiatives, data suggest.

Rivkin says IDC Health Insights conducted the study to gauge provider and payer investment plans for digital transformation, which includes clinical collaboration and communication through mobile devices, connected health, digital transformation, Internet of Things devices and a value-based healthcare approach.

About a third of healthcare provider organizations predict they expect to evaluate such programs over the next one to three years, with about one in four payers say they are currently evaluating such programs. Rivkin adds that IT departments are likely to be leading the way in undertaking digital transformation projects, compared with other business units.

Technologies that are the focus of digital transformation include big data, business analytics, cloud services, cyber security, and mobile devices and applications, the survey found.

Healthcare provider organizations are looking to digital transformation to drive increased productivity, reduce overall costs and increase revenue. Payers primarily seek digital transformation projects to embrace new distribution platforms, mitigate organizational risk and meet compliance requirements.

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