The corona virus has impacted businesses across the world — including, of course, healthcare — and we all are trying to adapt to the future working environment. Here are the areas in which we need to improve, and focus on once the situation settles.
- Adopt a one-to-many conversation system. Social media communication is everywhere around us, but many organizations have not transitioned to a social organization. Utilize the tools within your portfolio of products such as Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Slack, Facebook at work, and others to have a strategy for mass communication during a time of crisis. It is time to move away from using the email system as an announcement tool.
- Virtual desktop as the standard. The adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure has increased, but it is still not a standard. Take the opportunity to prepare for the impending workforce working remotely and establish VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) as the standard for the future. This standard creates a consistent user experience that will allow the IT department the ability to centralize system and security updates.
- BYOD takes center stage. Bring your own devices to work should be a standard for the future. How many times have you complained about the laptop provided by your organization that’s so bulky you don’t even want to use it? What about a MacBook and iOS user forced to work in a Windows standard IT standard? BYOD is what the employees want, and the model can save the organization on device expenses. One example may be giving the employee a device stipend to use every 2-3 years. Of course, this model only works if the infrastructure such as VDI and other remote connectivity infrastructure are in place.
- WaaS – Wearable as a Service. CIOs and health systems have to start integrating patient wearables device data thoroughly. Clinicians will all agree that integrating temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure will help assess a patient’s health status. We should take the integration a step further to integrate the individual’s travel history. Now, I do understand the privacy concerns of providing the data to the health system. Still, if the patients consent to provide the data, it is another data element that is beneficial. We can also take a reverse approach as the ONC’s final ruling on interoperability requires that patients are able to download their medical record information. For instance, Apple HealthKit will ingest data on the Apple Watch so that patients will have all of their medical information, and the HealthKit app can alert the patient with a recommendation on their next steps for care during an epidemic. The integration of wearable data is valuable to help identify potentially infected patients without visiting the hospital.
- Chatbot becomes mainstream. Health systems should implement and enhanced the chatbot experience while treating the technology as an extension of the clinician. The majority of chatbots on the provider side focus on bill payment, appointment reminders, and symptom checking. Providers can take the opportunity to enhance the chatbot so that the patient experience is on par with speaking to a live clinician.
I have highlighted five areas to think through as a CIO. I am sure that in some organizations these solutions are implemented in pockets, while others have emphasized the bullet points above as a strategy. What solutions have you deployed today?
This piece was written by David Chou, a digital transformation consultant and longtime advocate for leveraging technology as a competitive advantage. Currently serving as CIO at Luye Medical Group, Chou has held leadership roles with several organizations, including University of Mississippi Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, and most recently, Children’s Mercy Hospital. To follow him on Twitter, click here.