As the consumerization of healthcare continues, competition for patients and insurers is driving healthcare providers to accelerate digital transformation. And judging by the recent efforts of Big Tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Uber, this pressure is helping healthcare transformation to reach an entirely new level.
For Microsoft’s part, earlier this year the company announced the creation of a new healthcare team, aptly named Microsoft Healthcare, and the hiring of two industry veterans to lead it—Jim Weinstein as VP and Joshua Mandel as chief architect. Weinstein is the former CEO of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system and Mandel worked as an executive with Google’s Verily project.
What these companies see is technology’s enormous potential to radically transform healthcare. For example, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile technologies can enable people to take control of their health in a multitude of ways, including preventative care, early detection, diagnosis, decision-making, treatment, end-of-life care, and research.
Cloud technology plays a key role, and that’s one of Microsoft’s principal areas of focus. Microsoft Healthcare corporate vice president Peter Lee explains in a recent blog post that providing cloud- and AI-powered tools can enable the healthcare industry to overcome its greatest challenges—vast amounts of data that are well beyond the ability of humans to comprehend, clunky IT systems that prevent clinicians from spending time with patients, and a lack of operational and regulatory clarity.
The potential is exciting. But before healthcare organizations can experience any benefits, they must ensure their employees know how to use the new tools. It’s a matter of making sure employees have a proper understanding of how the technology changes will impact them and how they can access the right kind of training and support so they can adopt and leverage the new technology to its fullest.
Without such efforts, technology implementations will most likely fail to meet expectations, both in terms of patients and internal service providers.
Before healthcare organizations can experience any benefits, they must ensure their employees know how to use the new tools
This is something that we have seen first-hand. We’ve worked with numerous clients who came to us after transformation projects have stalled or failed to meet their goals. For example, one client—one of the largest healthcare organizations in the U.S.—had just come out of an unsuccessful transformation effort. In their previous attempt, they failed to understand the importance of user adoption when implementing new technology—that a concerted effort must be made to ensure employees know how to use the technology.
We worked with the company to help them understand the impact that implementing Microsoft 365 would have on their organization. We then worked together to build a custom adoption solution, integrating targeted communications, self-help materials, live, on-demand training, and on-demand support with 24/7 access to consultants. As a result, we were able to help them migrate more than 200,000 users from Lotus Notes to Exchange Online and Office 365—and helped them to successfully manage the dramatic organizational change that was required. Most importantly, employees embraced the change and quickly began using the new technology, adopting Office 365 tools at a level and pace that was ahead of schedule.
In a 2017 report, PwC called attention to the explosion in the amount of health data in recent years. Five years ago, it was estimated that the amount of health-related data had exceeded 4 zettabytes (that’s 4 trillion gigabytes). By 2020, the amount is expected to reach more than 10 times that amount, to the level of yottabytes.
That’s a lot of data, and a lot of potential. It’s now up to organizations to recognize how to best reach it. With the right tools, training and support, employees will not only leverage that data, but will innovate and find new ways to drive value for patients and their organizations.