Healthcare executives universally recognize the need to transform their businesses digitally. Recent developments have further accelerated the shift toward a tech-driven approach, be it Amazon’s acquisition of U.S.-based primary care organization One Medical, CVS’s acquisition of home health giant Signify Health or the $1 billion loss reported by Cleveland Clinic in the first half of the year.

Cash-strapped and with an overworked workforce, providers are beginning to realize the mammoth task ahead of them. Challenging the status quo by using technology to expand the limits of patient care delivery is by no means an easy task. The key question is: Can recognizing the need for digital transformation alone provide the necessary competitive advantage?

We believe that to keep pace with tech giants like Amazon, traditional providers must excel equally at providing superior quality of care as well as bringing technology to the forefront. Instead of just talking about value-based care, it’s high time healthcare players start acting on it now as the new entrants will continue to innovate to cater to the evolving consumer needs and reinvent the patient experience.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Will all this ultimately translate to an increased wallet share and better quality of patient care at an affordable cost? An interesting point to note is the relative strengths the non-traditional players bring to the table—deep pockets, immense technical capabilities and a solid customer base. This further cements the idea that modern care delivery is set for a technological makeover like never before.

Making The Big Move

Traditional players can no longer afford to be complacent. They must instead transform their businesses, moving from technology being an afterthought to technology being a core competence. When so much is at stake—improved patient outcomes, enhanced efficacy, delivering value-based care, staying competitive—they will soon become obsolete unless traditional healthcare companies adopt technology at its core. The winners of tomorrow will be the ones who will leverage technology to the fullest. And, if they lack the capabilities, they should be open to finding a partner who can add that competency.

Here are a few areas that traditional players can start looking at:

  • One of the essential steps that traditional players can take is to start preparing for a fundamental shift in how patient care is delivered and how consumers will demand services.
  • Mapping business processes with a design thinking-led approach will help identify gaps in the existing processes and create customer-centric processes.
  • Understanding the impact of technology on the system and making data-driven choices will be crucial. Optimizing clinician operations, understanding reimbursement gaps and relooking at revenue cycle yields to ensure profitability will be key differentiators.
  • Forging partnerships should be a priority for organizations to kickstart their digital transformation journey. Healthcare organizations looking for innovative ways to transform their fragmented ecosystems must look for strategic alliances to deliver and maintain tech-driven health solutions at scale, resulting in better health decisions for patients.

Forging Ahead With Innovation

All is not lost for traditional healthcare players. Through state-of-the-art technologies, organizations have the potential to minimize data silos and enable quick access to care while attracting and retaining clinical staff as well as patients. With all its potential, technology is not just advantageous; it is necessary. In a world driven by digital, players who can reinvent their business models with a new and innovative approach to address consumers’ needs by embracing emerging technologies will be the only ones to survive and not be steamrolled by tech behemoths.

About the Author

Chris Strahorn, Chief Technology Officer at Accolite Digital.

This article was originally published in Forbes.

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