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How providers can overcome roadblocks crippling digital convergence

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Across every industry, companies are well on their way to digital transformation, and there is no turning back now. However, there is inconsistency in the success and impact that various industries are seeing.

The healthcare industry has begun to embrace digital convergence, but like many others, faces some roadblocks. External challenges—such as regulatory boundaries and the complexity of healthcare enterprises paired with industry barriers—make it difficult for IT executives to navigate and make real progress across an organization.

The ever-changing adoption of technologies, such as cloud solutions and digital services, provide healthcare organizations with an opportunity to provide greater access to the best healthcare experience possible. Digital technologies are moving beyond just patient experience and instead are now affecting all workplace collaboration. Digital convergence will combine and connect people, devices, content and services to support businesses across industries.

Healthcare IT executives are not just working under the assumption that mobile apps, devices and data automatically equal digital transformation. They know that digital solutions must be ingrained in the business itself and need to help shape the roadmap to transformation.

To improve digital collaboration, it is imperative that health IT executives understand the day-to-day journey their colleagues and patients take. By observing and understanding their audience’s needs, they will be able to implement the right digital technologies to enhance the user experience.

Think of a patient who enters the dizzying maze of a hospital. The use of a wayfinding app could help them get around more efficiently by saving time, and ultimately making them a happier patient. Don’t stop there. Could they also benefit from automated assistance when filling out paperwork? What about mobile notifications for appointment delays? Health IT executives can provide the best patient experience by taking the time to think through and understand the journey of those they serve.

Digital convergence for healthcare enterprises has been challenged by competing and changing digital transformation priorities. Ten years ago, health IT executives prioritized only a handful of initiatives, but now, decision makers must juggle digital innovation priorities across their enterprise.

For example, digital convergence might be an initial priority for a city hospital, but without proper preparation, the beginning stages of the transition could unveil other challenges, like outdated phone systems. Without an upfront review of an organization’s entire communications strategy, the required changes could be more deeply rooted, more challenging, and costlier than initially expected.

The consolidation seen across the industry is also a disruptor. In the first week of December 2017, there were eight major mergers and acquisitions announced within the healthcare industry that will materially change the industry landscape. As organizations combine, progress on IT changes and digital convergence could be delayed as adaptions to the new business model or leadership are made. In these all too common scenarios, the pressure to transform is everywhere in an industry that already faces challenges when trying to improve patient care.

The challenges health IT executives face is nothing new. They need to make critical decisions that have an impact on the network, the patients, and ultimately the business. To succeed in this high-stakes and collaboration-heavy environment, IT executives need the right strategies, effective solutions and quick wins to keep everything up and running.

The transformation to digital convergence is a journey, and it is essential to remember everyone will be facing roadblocks. Nevertheless, the trend toward digital convergence this year and beyond reflects the healthcare industry’s desire to mature and improve the experience for patients and employees alike.

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