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The Coming Digital Transformation of Healthcare

Modern businesses, including healthcare providers and payers, can’t exist without computer systems. But current practices are largely confined to database technology from the 70s and 80s that were developed to automate bookkeeping. This delivers the ability to understand what has happened and report on it. Data is the resulting product. APCDs are an example of this type of application and mindset.

Many healthcare agencies have spent the last twenty years adopting early website technology from the mid-90s. They now use these sites as a unidirectional publishing tool to push uniform information to all consumers.

Two more levels of website technology are still waiting to be adopted by the healthcare industry and state healthcare agencies in particular. At the turn of the century, online retailers moved to website personalization to deliver content that matched the needs of individual users.

By 2006 the next innovation arrived as user generated content in the form of images, videos and text tweets. All of these have been scaled up and successfully commercialized (I hesitate to say perfected) by Facebook to create the current state of computer technology for consumers.

Digital transformation is the utilization of personalization and user generated content to drive state of the art businesses. Amazon’s buyer personalization and user reviews are now the model for digital transformation of retail. In digital transformation, data isn’t just something you analyze as a rearview mirror for a business. Data is the driving force and the foundation of algorithm driven businesses.

The healthcare industry must make the transition to digital transformation, with their websites as the primary collection point for this new generation of bidirectional communication with consumers. They can begin this process on their own, or wait for Amazon to disintermediate healthcare as it has so many other industries.

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