In a Post-COVID World, How Will Health System Leaders Accelerate Digital Health?

Health System Leaders Roundtable: 5 Experts Discuss How to Accelerate Digital In 2021

Challenges and opportunities often show up at our doorstep bound together. Alongside the tragedy and heartache of the COVID-19 pandemic came a glimmer of hope: the speed at which health systems across the country were able to adapt and accommodate the growing number of patients.

Despite facing this challenge with limited supplies, an unclear path forward, and scant data to guide their decisions, health system leaders found creative ways to work within their means to accelerate their digital transformations. Health IT teams stood up ICU beds, adapted programs, and pushed hundreds of thousands of employees to remote work within days. What had formerly taken months or years was now taking mere hours.

With this rush to find solutions, executives interviewed by This Week In Health IT realized the benefits that proponents of digital health have promised all along. Here are just a few:

  • Streamlined innovation and implementation
  • Improvements in safety and security
  • A hedge against future disasters
  • Less burdensome clinician workflow
  • Improved patient access and engagement

IT teams were met with challenges previously thought of as insurmountable. But as the crisis unfolded, innovations that typically would take months or years to implement were up and running in a matter of days, or even hours.

In 2021, however, the pandemic’s pressure has begun to wane as therapeutics are developed and vaccinations administered. But patient, clinician, and health executive expectations have not lessened. The threat of hackers, the intensity of competition among systems and new entrants added, and the chances that another pandemic may arrive as quickly and with as much ferocity as this one have also remained.

Some healthcare leaders believe that the speedy pivots we saw in 2020 were an aberration, motivated by lives on the line. However, others argue there is a happy medium between former expectations and the burnout that awaits with the speed of current projects.

With this new insight in mind, health system leaders aim to accelerate their digital transformation—in the face of pandemic-level pressure or not.

In interviews with This Week In Health IT, health IT leaders discussed how they intend to continue accomplishing these feats of digital health acceleration after the worst of COVID-19 has passed.

See full article and interview here.

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