Organizations’ understanding of what it means to be digital has evolved from an efficiency play to enhancing the customer experience as the main goal today. Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents seek better customer service and engagement as the No. 1 outcome. While the member is the most important customer, health plans think of caregivers, employers, brokers, their own employees, and government purchasers as customers too.
Realizing this vision of superior customer experience through digital transformation calls for a different set of skills from technology professionals and executives. Respondents call it systems thinking, engineering mindset, or end-to-end planning. It involves understanding the whole system, the overall goals, its various subsystems, and the recurring patterns in the relationships between the subsystems. To achieve systems thinking, technology teams should work closely with the business and bring in experts with human-centered design and user experience, whereas technology leaders should be part of strategy planning and execution.
Modernization progress of customer-facing platforms is slower than other core platforms. We asked respondents about modernization progress of five technology platforms (clinical, core admin, analytics, engagement, and customer service). Only two (of 45 respondents in the survey and interviews) said they have completed modernization of a single platform. The majority are in process or plan to modernize in the next one to two years. Engagement and customer service platforms see the least progress: 57% and 45% of respondents, respectively, are in process or plan to modernize within one to two years. How organizations approach platform modernization is informed by their existing infrastructure, previous technology investments, vision, and growth strategy.
Shift left on cyber. The survey respondents identified cyber and information security as the number two investment priority after business intelligence. However, interviewed leaders warned it could be expensive to correct cyber-related mistakes, particularly ones having to do with cloud configuration. Baking in cybersecurity in DevOps from the outset can make for a more efficient and resilient process.
Our respondents also spoke of challenges. Two-thirds identify lack of requisite expertise (69%), such as cloud engineering and software architecture, and incremental investment approach (66%) as their main challenges. Half say disparate systems and businesses from M&A activity (54%) and the lack of defined vision (49%) have challenged their digital transformation agenda.
Our view is that while platform modernization is important, health plans at different stages of digital transformation have an opportunity for quick wins in three areas that can help advance their digital agenda: customer engagement, analytics, and cyber. Below are a few examples.
• Add texting to omnichannel engagement
• Create self-service workflow to help customers with easy questions (e.g., benefits inquiries or claims status inquiries)
• Take advantage of analytics to improve care gap closures and social service referrals, or to create personalized network steerage suggestions
• Enhance identity and access management
Digital transformation is about future-proofing the business. In Deloitte’s vision for the Future of Health, companies that can create a delightful customer experience, invest in their health, and earn their trust will win. The time is now for health plans to seize this opportunity and execute a robust digital transformation strategy.