Powering the digital hospital

Envisioning a future without boundaries through digital health care

Amid significant disruption in the industry, many health care providers may find they need to go digital–specifically, to become a digital hospital.

The need to go digital

​Hospitals and health systems are operating in a period of significant disruption, the result of shifting incentive models, advancing technologies, evolving patient expectations, and transforming medical education.

In today’s increasingly value-focused health care market, could the traditional practice of treating most patients within a brick-and-mortar hospital become a thing of the past, as payers and patients seek more cost-effective ways to deliver high-quality care?

To survive and thrive, many providers may find they need to become a digital hospital by evolving their operating model and using next-generation technologies to link and leverage the delivery of many services in both ambulatory and hospital settings.

Explore the future of end-to-end service provided by a digital hospital

Digital hospital: Benefits and challenges

The potential benefits of digitally connected ambulatory and inpatient health services could be numerous and far-reaching. Among the digital health care possibilities:

  • Early detection and intervention, reducing risk for more acute complications
  • Accelerated return to previous health levels with recovery occurring in the home
  • Reduced hospital-acquired infections due to a shorter stay
  • Potentially reduced treatment costs
  • Ability for patients to engage with care providers quickly and effectively, thus improving the patient experience
  • Ability for hospitals to leverage technology to maximize resource use

However, health care innovators are likely to face considerable challenges along the path to full implementation of a digital hospital. These include:

  • Maintaining human interaction, as increasing digitalization could negatively impact the patient-provider relationship
  • Automation bias, which occurs when people strongly trust the accuracy of computer-generated information over other sources, including their own senses
  • Ensuring data security and privacy to avoid “Big Brother” scenarios will be paramount to build patient trust for hospital systems and processes

To become a digital hospital requires three foundational elements:

  1. Electronic health record (EHR) systems
  2. Next-generation interoperability 
  3. Analytical capabilities

Heading into the digital future

​Significant future possibilities for digital health care, and a more seamless connection between ambulatory and inpatient care, offer exciting opportunities for hospitals as well as significant competitive advantages.

Deloitte’s annual CIO survey found that “digitally maturing companies…place a strong emphasis on innovation and are over twice as likely to be investing in innovation than are early-stage entities—87 percent versus 38 percent. More than 80 percent of digitally maturing companies plan to develop new core business lines in the next three to five years in response to digital trends. Only about half of early-stage companies have similar plans.”

If your hospital is making investments in applying technologies to solve patient needs and evolve your business model, then the concept of a fully powered digital hospital may not seem far in the future. If, however, this narrative seems more like science fiction, it could be time to encourage your organization to embrace and invest in technological advancements that could shape health care’s future.

Finally, remember that technology on its own rarely results in an innovation that solves a significant problem–technology must be paired with the right people and processes, too.

Where does your organization stand in terms of digital maturity? Download the report to learn more.

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