How Digital Transformation in Healthcare Can Help Deliver Better Patient Care
Oct 24, 2019
Often when we hear about digital transformation in healthcare, the focus is frequently on three benefits: improved efficiency, reduced workload, and lower maintenance costs. While all three benefits are reason enough for healthcare organizations to modernize, there is another, more important benefit to consider: better patient care.
While improved patient care may not be an obvious result of healthcare digital transformation, especially when we think about HCM and Financial Management, which are back-end, non-patient facing solutions, a combined HR and finance transformation through technology can actually improve patient care both directly and indirectly.
Delivering Better Care with Digital Transformation in Healthcare
Let’s take a look at some of the ways healthcare digital transformation can improve the patient experience.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
The level of care a patient receives is directly tied to the skill of the caregiver. Attracting and retaining the best talent is, therefore, one of the best ways to ensure that patients are getting the best care possible. This is especially true since gaps in staffing can force patients to wait longer for care, go somewhere else for care (potentially to someone out-of-network), or simply not get treated. None of those scenarios are good for the patient, potentially risking their health or costing them extra money.
An HCM platform streamlines an organization’s hiring process, making it easier to source and manage applicants, as well as interview and offer. All aspects of the hiring process are all managed in one tool, which can automate many basic tasks like sending out notification emails. It’s also easier to coordinate schedules for interviews, since the tool can look at multiple calendars to determine the best time for all parties. HCM software not only makes it easier to find the right talent but also reduces the total time-to-hire as well.
By combining payroll, benefits, and HR management into one solution, it’s also easier to retain top talent. Giving caregivers, facility staff, and other members of a healthcare organization the ability to self-service many of their basic HR needs, as well as giving them the flexibility to do so from their device of choice, helps to keep staff happy. Easy access to benefits also goes a long way toward keeping employees engaged with your organization.
Finally, updating to a cloud-based HCM solution can simplify staff development. A modern HCM platform provides dashboards and resources to make it easier to manage training, view certifications, and determine which staff members need specific types of training. Clinicians, administrators, and other personnel can easily see what training they need and plan accordingly. Depending on the training, it may be possible to train inside the HCM tool itself. This allows healthcare organizations to maintain better-trained staff, improving operational efficiency while allowing for better patient care.
Better Reporting = Better Decision Making
Being able to trust data is another big concern in the healthcare industry. After undergoing the healthcare digital transformation process, data is standardized throughout the organization and compiled into a single source of truth, making it both more accurate and more actionable. Modernization allows hospitals and healthcare organizations to have a better view of the organization both at the macro and micro levels, providing them with insights into how to streamline efficiency.
By improving overall internal efficiency, healthcare organizations can provide better patient care in several ways, including keeping overall costs low and ensuring there are no shortages of important resources.
Patients Over Paperwork
In a study by the Journal of Nursing Care Quality, it was discovered that nurses spend roughly 1/3rd of their time interacting with technology. Much of this time is spent performing basic administrative tasks, many of which could be either eliminated or at least streamlined so that more time can be dedicated to patient care.
By automating basic tasks and allowing clinicians to utilize an HCM platform on their device of choice (mobile phone, tablet, PC), it’s possible to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative work. For example, by making it easier for staff to take care of basic tasks like handling their timecard or expenses, more time is spent on patient care.
Ensuring Better Patient Care
While digital transformation in healthcare can lead to better patient care, it’s also important to note that modernization can have the opposite effect if next executed strategically with a solid change management plan in place. Transitioning to a combined HCM and financial management solution requires everyone in the healthcare organization to:
- Be invested in the new solution.
- Be trained in the new solution and processes.
- Have a clear understanding of what changes are happening and when.
If stakeholders don’t see the value in the new HCM and financial management system, haven’t properly trained in its use, or are kept in the dark when it comes to the project timeline, the result is that they will either not use the new solution or not use it properly. This cuts into the time-to-value of the transformation and prevents everyone (patients included) from benefiting from the new system. As such, healthcare organizations that are taking their first steps to modernization need to factor in strategy and change management into their overall transformation plan. This guarantees the success of the digital transformation and, in turn, will lead to better patient care.
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