Technological innovations are taking place in healthcare organizations are occurring at a rapid pace. Interoperability, managing the increasing cost of care, privacy and security concerns, patient experience, value-based payment models, and many more challenges in the healthcare provider landscape push the annual technology budget of most hospitals to $40 million. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further accelerated the need and speed for healthcare technology innovations.
Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Telemedicine, and many other innovations are poised to make breakthroughs in care and delivery.
The big question is, how do you know which health-tech innovation is going to enable your practice to achieve strategic advantage? Golden Source Consultants would like to suggest a simple five steps to creating your winning technology innovation strategy.
Five Steps to Creating A Technology Innovation Strategy
1. Know Yourself
A well-formed strategy begins with understanding your capabilities. Knowing what your organization’s technical capabilities are and where gaps exist is the beginning point for building a successful plan. Technology leaders need to maintain a well-documented technology landscape, evaluating opportunities and threats for each technology on a regular basis. With the rapid speed of change, annual review of the technology stack reveals if the solutions that worked yesterday are meeting the demands of today, and if there are potential new entrants that can make tomorrow even better. With a truthful and grounded reality in your own technical capabilities, feedback from employees, patients, or even reading the latest announcements from competitors is more easily reviewed and prioritized.
2. Know Your Patients
It’s easy to be impressed by the latest technical innovation, but at the heart of healthcare technology is the patient and families served by the organization. Best-in-class providers intimately understand the needs of their patients and match their investments in technology with the everyday needs and wants of this audience. A great way to do this is to build patient personas, which can be leveraged not only by Technology, but by physician leadership, marketing, operations, and other professionals in your organization. The goal of a patient persona is to give a name and a face to the commonly encountered patients in your practice. Think about their experience, what makes them healthier, happier, and more engaged. Think about the challenges, stresses, or difficulties they encounter with their visit, diagnosis, or treatment. When you can describe who you serve better, you have the ability to serve better.
3. Know Your Providers
If your patients are the why of your practice, your providers are the how. Great care takes great people. Great people empowered by great technology are able to deliver with greater success, consistency, and efficiency. That’s why knowing how your providers interact and engage with technology is essential. Consider how each time a provider interacts with or touches a piece of technology that moment is made better. Define what better means to your providers. You may be surprised that better isn’t a new software or device, it could be a better configuration or improved performance time. Long story short, if you haven’t heard from your providers before you implement your technology, you will hear from them after. So your initial due diligence with your provider stakeholders will go a long way to secure a successful technology strategy.
Within a national provider of anesthesia services, Golden Source Consultants was challenged to help define the users of a new Human Resource Management platform. To do this a group of providers from across the organization was asked to participate in a series of phone calls designed to identify different types of Provider Personas. Beginning with a predefined example, the provider task force refined a baseline, and then defined seven unique profiles. Each profile described the unique jobs, pains, and gains of a particular provider.
Using the inputs and descriptions provided by the providers, Golden Source drafted personas for each of the seven profiles. The personas gave a name, place, and back story to each profile so that the needs and wants of each were clearly understood.
GSC then facilitated a one-day workshop which brought together practice leadership, human resource leaders, and providers. In the workshop the providers who assisted in creating the personas presented to their peers across the organization. In working groups, the cross-functional teams came up with ideas and requirements that were presented to the larger group. Both the clinical and the business merit to these solutions were discussed, and decisions were captured that would lead to better technology design and development.
The End Results:
- The requirements for the HRM solution were more clearly defined and specific to the anesthesia provider’s unique needs.
- Leadership across the organization had a deeper understanding of how different types of providers were happy or unhappy with features or tools.
- A clearer understanding of what training would be helpful was gathered to tailor topics to each persona.
- The participation and input of providers from across the national footprint created ambassadors for change. These individuals were invested in the solution, and as announcements for the new releases were made each individual felt confident answering questions to their peers and supporting the new technology.
4. Know Your Technology Options
With your technology capabilities and consumers in mind, now it’s finally time to think through your options. Is buying or building a solution more appropriate for your budget and team skillset? Who are the vendors that are creating solutions for the goals and challenges your investigation revealed? Beyond implementation, how will your organization run and manage your new investment? The answers to these questions, focused through your details you’ve gathered which form your requirements, make the technology strategy you’re about to create formed on a realistic and holistic backbone.
5. Know Your Plan
It may be exciting to skip to vendor selection or start building out your Scrum board, but before you invest your time, talent, and treasure into new technology, know your plan. A successful technology should clearly focus on the strategic goals that a project or program will achieve. Challenge yourself and your leaders to be specific. Be specific about budgets, timelines, and requirements. When new requests or competing priorities inevitably arise, the entire team will be able to go back to the goals and make decisions that move the strategy forward.
In closing, technology innovation may be new, but the planning and strategy be based on tried and true thought processes. Following these five simple steps to strategic planning for your technology innovation will ensure the investment pays dividends for all involved.