5 Challenges of Digital Transformation in Healthcare

digital transformationWith Q4 upon us, many healthcare organizations are looking ahead with 2018 planning. Questions such as: “How can my organization prove more value?” and “How can we better engage with our customers?” are sure to be presented when strategizing for the future. But with any new initiative, there will naturally be challenges along the way.

Evolving customer behaviors and preferences are placing higher demands and expectations on the overall market, but it’s especially tense for the healthcare industry. As we shift to a new care delivery model, and with technological advancements lagging, the need for digital transformation is more important than ever. Especially for Marketing and Sales.

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A digital transformation is inevitable as we further embed ourselves in the digital age, but to better prepare you and your organization, here are some challenges you may face:

An Organization’s Resistance to Change

It’s like the old saying goes, “Why fix it if it’s not broken?” But this mentality can trap an organization and leave them left behind. To remain truly innovative, change needs to be met with optimism.

A study conducted by the Altimeter Group found that 79% of respondents cited improving agility to more rapidly adapt to change was a key initiative for their digital transformation efforts, with 34% of respondents citing that this initiative is largely led by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). That’s why for companies looking to start their digital transformation efforts, they must create an organizational infrastructure that’s driven by their leaders, including from Compliance, with a comprehensive plan to enact and navigate change.

Establishing Business Needs

Creating a compelling case for why an organization needs to focus on digital transformation can be met with many challenges on its own. Your leaders may not even be aware that the organization is facing the problems that they are, so it’s important to tell an engaging story that paints the picture of why it needs to transform.

To present the best possible business case for a digital transformation, you’ll need to conduct surveys and interviews with stakeholders across departments, study the vendors that comprise the market, select the solutions that make the most sense for your organization, and build a business case presentation that will excite decision-makers.

Budgetary and Resource Concerns

Of course, everything comes at a price, but this is why it’s especially important to prove a digital transformation’s value from the beginning. Healthcare organizations need to re-think how they derive revenue from the value that they create. Those that do so flexibly can find that the adoption of a digital strategy offers more scale, revenue, and profit than the existing approach.

Show how much money is being lost from inefficient processes. Not only can you show the amount being lost, you can prove how much will be saved by a digital transformation. So, instead of presenting this initiative as a cost incurred, position it as something that will quickly pay for itself.

Data is Lacking

Data is the backbone to the majority of, if not all, business activities. Yet, 69% of leaders are challenged by a lack of data or ROI to justify a digital transformation. With Big Data upon us in the healthcare industry, organizations are still struggling to capture, understand, and act on insights available to them. Because of this disconnect, current key performance indicators are isolated within each department. It doesn’t provide a complete picture of customers or an organization’s well-being.

Furthermore, only 22% of those surveyed cited having a content strategy in place that addresses customer needs at all journey stages, but content analytics were in the top most important metrics measured. Content is one of the most important engagement tools for an organization, so without a proper strategy in place, organizations will have a tough time staying ahead of the competition.

The Existing Technology Stack is Siloed

With a siloed tech stack, organizations aren’t running as efficiently as they should be. This not only affects the customer experience, but it also affects the insight and communication between internal departments. Digital transformation is a combination of ensuring the basic technologies are in place, but also having a transformation “DNA” inside the company.

Furthermore, for the healthcare industry, sales cycles can be long and they need a specific set of technologies that will give long-term insights throughout the buyer journey. Buyers often have several touch points—whether that be sales meetings, events, or digital campaigns—and organizations need platforms that, together, stack up to let Marketing and Sales do inbound and outbound marketing, sales enablement, and eventually, to understand attribution.

The healthcare industry is about to experience immense, positive transformation. The future may hold uncertainty, but it’s safe to say that we can expect to foresee technology impacts that’ll change healthcare as we know it. We’ll look back in 10 years and ask ourselves, “How did we ever do without this?”