Three Paths Forward For Healthcare

“What Should We Do First?”dig hospital

Redesign our Website? Deploy a new intranet platform? Find a way for employees to collaborate? Build a patient portal? Launch some Social Media…something?

These are common questions we hear every day from healthcare leaders trying to balance seemingly infinite digital opportunities with clearly finite resources.

These challenges aren’t new, but they are becoming more urgent.
• Healthcare providers are falling further behind in meeting the expectations of healthcare consumers / patients.
• Most healthcare organizations lack the agility to keep pace with the exponential changes in Web technologies.
• Gaps are widening between departmental/employee needs and the organization’s ability to deliver.

In truth, there is only one question healthcare organizations need to answer…

“What digital path forward are we going to take?”

There are three possible answers:

1. Triage – Keep the lights on
• Lowest short-term cost
• Does not address organizational challenges
• Highest mid/long-term risk and cost
• Potential negative impact on ‘real world’ investments

2. Targeted – Investments/upgrades in select Web technologies
• Reduces short-term risk
• Limits short/mid-term investment requirements
• Limited impact on organizational challenges
• Limited opportunity to move beyond parity in market

3. Transformational – Take patient experience to the next level
• Greatest short-term cost
• Greatest mid/long-term risk reduction
• Minimizes organizational challenges
• Establishes sustainable excellence
• Creates significant competitive advantage

By selecting one of these paths, healthcare organizations can quickly define the scale and scope of future efforts. This also establishes a clear goal to evaluate how effectively each opportunity (e.g., Web redesign, intranet, patient portal, Enterprise 2.0, social) helps achieve that goal.

Organizations should be cautious about applying a “good, better, best” evaluations to these options. While Transformational may appear the grandest and most initially appealing of the options, the Triage approach can be the most appropriate for many organizations.

Instead, the choice of Triage, Targeted or Transformational should be based on 1) Support of organizational strategy 2) Alignment to audience needs/expectations and 3) Governance. Of course, resources are always an influencing factor but should not be a deciding factor in selecting the digital direction for an organization.

As the rate of change in digital technologies and audience expectation continues to increase, so will the variety and complexity of opportunities…and the critical need for healthcare organizations to clearly define a path forward.

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