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Why smarter healthcare depends on data and automation

By Contributor
Fri 29 Jul 2022

Article by SnapLogic regional manager for A/NZ James Campbell.

The pandemic has acted as a fierce catalyst for change. It’s strong-armed industries across the globe to break up with the past and embrace a world of new. Nowhere is that more evident than in healthcare.

Forced to innovate to survive, overcoming staff shortages, safe distancing requirements, and lockdowns, the healthcare industry’s transformation is far from over. While the immediate threat of the pandemic has lessened across the APAC region, the industry must continue to prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

According to a recent KPMG study, 62% of CEOs from leading public and private healthcare providers say they were already undertaking substantial change before the pandemic. The study shows that 97% agree that COVID-19 has significantly accelerated those change agendas. Meanwhile, the vast majority (79%) believe that all aspects of care delivery models will be transformed within the next three years and significant obstacles and challenges are ahead.

Respondents report the ability to meet demand, the impact of new operating models on staff, support wellness and recruit new talent are the biggest workforce concerns going forward. To navigate the unknowns, progressive healthcare and pharmaceutical organisations must continue to lean on technology and embrace data, the cloud and business process automation to transform the patient experience and drug and vaccine development. Now more than ever, the healthcare sector needs to be data-driven.

Unleash new capabilities with automation

Powerful new technologies like AI and machine learning enable knowledge workers to do more than they ever could. These technologies are optimising the entire healthcare and pharma value chain by accelerating breakthrough innovation, delivering better patient care and scaling stronger outcomes across whole organisations.

In fact, according to a recent report from Bain & Company, 80% of physician respondents say they use digital tools more often than they did just three to five years ago. They say technology helps them better manage workloads and cited increased caseloads during the pandemic as a key driver.

When automation is tied to these processes, healthcare and pharma organisations become quite literally bionic, unleashing new capabilities and insights to make even better, more accurate decisions. In turn, this enables them to take swift, life-saving actions. Everything from obtaining complete patient information to recommending a personalised medical treatment based on the patient’s information and providing access to clinical trial data across stakeholders, both internally and externally, are processes that can be automated to serve the industry’s dynamic needs.

The double-edged sword of technological advancements

Integration has been around since the 1990s, and companies have either adopted an integration tool or built integrations by hand to connect a handful of on-premises databases and application suites. These integrations were primarily built to move large volumes of data from one database to another at scheduled frequencies or synchronise data between on-premises applications. However, the IT landscape has changed dramatically since then. 

According to research conducted by Vanson Bourne, a typical company now has an average of 115 applications – and that number is increasing. 

The boom of new cloud technologies has been a double-edged sword, both empowering healthcare and pharma companies to become more agile and efficient but also adding more complexity to their IT infrastructure. With this, more data silos get created, which in turn causes more bottlenecks and delays in accessing patient information, clinical trials and life-saving processes. 

Different data silos, often controlled by different functional groups, lead to data drift and only provide a localised view of data. In addition, new technologies lead to the 3Vs (volume, variety, velocity) where IT needs to manage various data (structured, semi-structured and unstructured) with different data volumes and at a different velocity. Combining these technology and business drivers requires IT to reimagine their entire IT infrastructure, allowing business stakeholders to access data from on-premises systems and cloud applications. 

Automating end-to-end business processes is virtually impossible if companies cannot connect on-premises with cloud applications. Some companies may utilise a cloud-first strategy to replace all their legacy systems with cloud technologies. Others, however, may never retire some of their crucial legacy systems and require a hybrid solution.

By modernising the IT landscape, organisations are setting up the foundation to start automating end-to-end processes for a more efficient future.

Intelligent integration: the superpower of modern healthcare

Today, patients engage with their healthcare providers across multiple channels. Patient information is created or updated in multiple systems, from outpatient and inpatient procedures to virtual check-ups and medicine pickups. While having all this data available is a step in the right direction, if these systems are not integrated, healthcare providers lack a complete view of each patient’s medical conditions, history, risk factors and treatments.

Having only a partial view of a patient’s health information limits their potential to provide the best medical care and recommendation for patients at each touch point. What’s more, the lack of information could also lead to misdiagnosis or mistreatment that could hinder patient outcomes.

Streamlined medical processes, on the other hand, deliver complete patient information, empowering healthcare providers to offer the proper medical care at the right time and moment, optimising the patient outcome. Healthcare providers can transform their care delivery and healthcare programs by increasing efficiency and innovation. For example, preventive healthcare and medical diagnosis can be made more efficient if providers see better results in one type of treatment over another or if the treatment processes can yield the exact results if performed over a shorter period.

Like healthcare, pharma companies also play a critical role in keeping society healthy and safe. With a connected enterprise where data flows from one system to another seamlessly via an intelligent integration platform, pharmas can speed up clinical trials and drug development. Employees and external stakeholders are then empowered to make data-driven decisions to review, improve and approve the clinical trials quickly and deliver drugs and vaccines to patients.

Becoming a bionic organisation that sets the standard in modern healthcare starts today. 

By integrating apps and data and automating workflows and processes, organisations can speed up their capacity to lead change, ensuring agility and speed while driving performance and results. Better outcomes in patient care as well as faster, more streamlined research, innovation, greater efficiencies, improved revenues and enhanced staff satisfaction are all on the other side of intelligent integration.

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