The following was a guest blog post on HealthcareScene.com.
Healthcare as a whole is finding new ways to use technology to improve population health and patient experience. Population health is looking for a spectrum of precision in patient and provider data as well as clinical cost metrics and matching that data to patient communication, metrics and clinical outcomes. Patient experience requires streamlining information that is both timely and personalized, which is hard to accomplish with monolithic systems.
A monolithic system is usually one that has grown over many years and performs numerous functions that are not architecturally separated. These systems tend to be brittle and not easily changed. The proliferation of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare further exacerbates the complexity of operating multiple monolithic systems within a healthcare network. It is not unheard of to operate 5, 8 or even 12 billing systems in parallel, because combining them would take so much more time, and it is more cost effective to let them operate individually.
According to Forrester Research’s customer experience index, even improving patient experience by one or two points can have an enormous impact on patient satisfaction and a health care organization’s bottom line. It’s the proverbial win-win. However, the same report indicates that not one company across any industry is earning marks of excellence for customer experience—not even Disney, the customer-first, customer experience poster child.
Health care organizations have been, and continue to be, invested heavily in patient experience to improve outcomes and lower costs. The potential to realize these improvements depends on the quantity, quality, and diversity of data available. The post-EMR implementation landscape and health app explosion are cranking out more data than clinicians or marketers can disseminate. Interoperability is a key and complex problem health care faces, but there are means of getting answers to patient experience questions quickly without wading through siloes of data and internal bureaucracy. The key is to get to actionable insights regardless of whether your data is your own or combined with third party data from public sources or private partners.
Efforts to improve collaboration is a common driver of the recent healthcare mergers, say experts.
The industry will be changed less by mergers that try to combine different core competencies that are borne out of different cultures, than by partnerships that allow the different businesses to become even more focused on what they individually do best, says Sheila Talton, president and CEO of Gray Matter Analytics, a healthcare technology company.
“The wildcard in healthcare is the fact that all of this change leads to new disruptions, innovations, and risks that are not yet foreseen,” says Nick Vennaro, cofounder of Capto Consulting, a firm that consults companies on how to improve operations, economics, and efficacy.
Marketing has always been a front-facing department, moving at breakneck speed to plan and implement new solutions. IT has traditionally worked behind the scenes, taking a more methodical enterprise approach.
So it’s no wonder that over the years there has been little collaboration between the two groups. But with digital transformation and adoption of so many emerging technologies and tools, it’s time for the two groups to form a tighter union that empowers a new paradigm for co-ownership of objectives, such as customer experience and revenue-generation programs.