Introducing digitally-enabled healthcare services
Optimising the use of digital technologies to transform service models
Digitally-enabled healthcare service models are critical to meet the increasing health needs of our populations
Internationally, digitally-enabled models of care are emerging that:
- Use patient-reported symptoms and vital signs to improve the monitoring and management of disease and reduce the risk of crisis episodes and emergency admission
- Exploit telemedicine to improve accessibility, increase service bandwidth and accelerate diagnosis and treatment whilst retaining a critical mass of specialist services
- Connect service capacity to service need
- Establish the interoperability platform needed to support electronic health records and the delivery of integrated care.
However, digital health investments often disappoint
The opportunities and potential benefits of digital technologies in healthcare are well understood. Still, their adoption remains at the margin and it can be hard to move from pilot to broad, systemic adoption.
In many cases, the return on investment is disappointing and protracted.
There are many reasons for this:
- The focus of the project becomes the technology. Clinical leaders need to sponsor and own the introduction of digitally-enabled models of care and engage the public and patients in the co-design processes
- There is not enough attention on communicating and managing the transition, meaning the behaviour changes often don’t ‘stick’
- When new digitally-enabled models of care are introduced, legacy pathways are often not decommissioned well
- The existing ‘digital divide’ can be exacerbated by neglecting how to provide channels that work for all members in the community
- The business case is not thorough enough to ensure that the right solutions are targeted at defined population health challenges and inequities. There are unrealistic expectations of the cost of change, the pay-back period and how change can be sequenced to secure early cost reduction
- The new models of care are introduced as an ‘island’ of innovation and not embraced within the wider blueprint for a balanced health system that is affordable and reflective of the population’s health
The long-term success of digitally-enabled care requires change programs designed and led by clinicians and consumers that deliver easy-to-use technology that addresses the diverse needs of populations
What we do
We facilitate the development of digitally-enabled healthcare service models that align with the system blueprint and health improvement priorities
- We develop pragmatic digital health strategies that leverage many years of experience in delivery and are driven by health needs, not by technology
- We understand change and use our knowledge of communications, clinical workflows, clinical cultures, incentivisation models and digital literacy to design strategies and implementation roadmaps that can be successfully delivered
- We test the feasibility of potential digitally-enabled models of care and assess how well they address recognised health needs, inequalities and inequities.
- We develop rigorous business cases that are owned by clinical leaders and fully examine the expected cost, return on investment and pay-back period of digital investments.
- We construct co-designed, digitally-enabled models of care with sustained consumer, carer and professional engagement.
- We deploy fit-for-purpose project and program management techniques to manage service improvement to time and budget.
- We use formative evaluation techniques alongside agile improvement cycles to maximise benefits as change progresses.