Digitalisation is much more than adding technology. Digitalisation is using technology to redesign improved working methods, patient flows and forms of communication and collaboration. Unn Hellberg, who leads Doctrin's customer team, has been responsible for implementing close to 200 care units in both primary and specialist care. Here, she shares success factors and pitfalls to avoid when digitalising healthcare.
Unn, what would you say characterises a successful digitalisation journey?
For me, successful digitalisation is when a digital tool becomes an enabler for creating value and achieving goals in the business. This can be in the form of increased accessibility for patients, improved working environment for healthcare staff, improved collaboration, increased quality, increased efficiency, e.t.c. We always start the conversation with the customer by stressing the importance of having clearly defined goals and emphasising the need for changed working methods when implementing a digital tool, in order to get real and long-term business benefits.
Other distinguishing factors are:
The opposite of successful digitalisation is when the digital systems are perceived as a disruption and placed as another layer or "another system", on top of the business without being anchored in it. There are several reasons, the commonest ones being :
What do you usually recommend healthcare providers to think about who are at the beginning of their digitalisation journey?
In addition to carefully thinking through their goals and how to communicate them to get the employees involved, my main recommendation would be to identify who could be ambassadors for digitalisation.
We advise against, forcing all employees to start working in the platform immediately as some will be resistant. Instead, let those who are curious and positive start to develop routines for new ways of working. Those who are already enthusiastic, often have a greater understanding that there will be a need to refine the approach, which creates and develops a learning and innovative organisation and gets positive results faster. Seeing the benefits of introduction will then encourage the skeptics to get onboard.
What can customers expect from Doctrin during the digitalisation journey?
We offer a proven implementation method with templates and structures to take our units from the initial introductory meeting to the first patient entering the platform and then ongoing support. The fact that we have made over 200 implementations in many different types of organisations means that we can adapt our methods to the customer such as existing digital maturity, the size and complexity of the population, the number of professions involved and the care offers and onward refer, navigation options and payment systems.
How would you measure success in the short, midterm and long term?
It is vital that what you measure and monitor is consistent with the goals and challenges you have identified and your chosen working methods.
In the short term, it is crucial to monitor patient volumes in the platform. With larger volumes, new ways of working tend to happen faster, and is easier to schedule efficiently and timetable for digital patient workload . Many customers express concern that a large sustained influx of patients will become unmanageable. But our experience is the opposite. It is much easier for employees to get used to the changeover if there is a continuous and even inflow of digital patient activity.
In the midterm, there is improved efficiency especially in terms of cooperation between occupational groups. We also see the work environment and workforce experience improve due to increased flexibility and a feeling of greater control of their own time, which has previously been lacking for many in healthcare. We see above all increased accessibility and greater transparency in their care for patients.
In the long term, one can expect to see positive effects in stress and staff turnover, patient satisfaction, clinical quality and continuity of care. We have documented results in all of these areas and we continue to be data-driven to help our customers measure results in the short, medium and long term to inform and guide. Improvement is never finished but is a continuous process, which requires an approach and a will to continually change for the better.
For more information on our solutions for digiphysical care contact Craig Oates, UK Country Manager Doctrin