Digital transformation of our health and well-being.

Successful digital transformation (DX) in healthcare must offer quality, convenience and operational efficiency.

The world is changing. We will soon have more old people on the planet than children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), putting further pressure on already overstretched healthcare organizations.

Better control of chronic illness and disease have contributed to longevity. By 2050, WHO predicts that 1.5 billion, or 16 percent of the world’s population will be over 65. Between 2010-2050, the number of older people in developing countries is forecast to increase by a staggering 250 percent.  The global healthcare industry is looking to digital transformation (DX) to address these pressing global issues.

DX in healthcare requires a connected strategy, built around efficient and secure delivery mechanisms that can control costs and provide efficiencies and innovations. The healthcare industry has been lagging behind other industries in embracing digital, partly because there are more regulatory and privacy issues relating to health care than consumer goods, for instance. McKinsey also cites a limited understanding of digital technologies across complex infrastructures to create business value, a shortage of digital talent and a lack of focus on the digital agenda from senior management.   

Healthcare at an inflection point.

Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends report argues that the healthcare industry is at an ‘inflection point’ with more healthcare data being generated than ever before thanks to wearables, connected devices and a plethora of lab tests, for example. Meeker cites market research firm IDC, maintaining that a typical 500-bed hospital now houses 50 petabytes of data. This data is accelerating medical knowledge and clinical trials.  At the same time, Meeker estimates that around 88 percent of consumers use at least one digital health device, predicting that adoption curves will get faster in digital health with every innovation.    

Healthcare organizations are often burdened with legacy systems, constraints on data access and sharing and cultures resistant to change. Nonetheless, McKinsey advocates four core principles where healthcare providers can improve:

  • Identify products and services that will benefit most from digitization and provide competitive differentiation
  • Build service-delivery capabilities, including new digital technologies and approaches to product development and distribution, including DevOps.  
  • Expanding in-house IT talent, moving to digital platforms and managing data as a key strategic asset. 
  • Construct and maintain “core management competencies” to follow a digital agenda.

Strength in partnership.

The truth is healthcare infrastructures are becoming far more complex and distributed. To readjust to this changing landscape, healthcare providers will need to adopt open systems, have an overall view of processes, become agile and form innovative partnerships, according to McKinsey.

Digital partnerships are already addressing global health issues. Take chronic disease management: According to WHO, chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 70 percent of all deaths globally. The main types of NCDs include heart attacks, cancers, asthma and diabetes.

Patients with NCDs need to be carefully monitored to control their conditions; if this is done early, it can avoid the need for more expensive treatment down the line. Biomouv, in partnership with Orange Healthcare, has come up with the first customized physical real-time activity program which uses artificial intelligence to produce personalized rehabilitation programs for NCD patients.  The program will initially be used with breast cancer patients at the Léon Bérard cancer clinic in Lyon.

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Orange Business is working closely with Dr Samir Abbas Hospital to deliver advanced e-Health solutions, designed to reduce costs and enhance patient care as a core part of its DX strategy.  This includes bedside infotainment terminals which include TV, phone and internet access alongside staff alerts and the ability for patients to view their medical files.  It also allows medical staff to browse the files and input data.

Looking ahead.

The current model of healthcare is increasingly unsustainable, but there is light. DX promises a very different and positive future for healthcare if strategized correctly – one which the World Economic Forum believes will create ‘consumer-centric healthcare’, allowing us all to be much more engaged in and responsible for our own wellbeing.

Find out more about how Orange Business’ wide range of e-health technologies including machine-to-machine (M2M), embedded devices and networking – is helping health professionals connect and coordinate here.