We are seeing many examples of that in action today. Hub-and-spoke models such as radiology operations command centers and tele-ICUs allow healthcare organizations to extend their expertise, with specialists in a central location offering remote guidance and assistance to their peers in peripheral sites. No longer is specialty care delivery bound to a physical location. Through technology, we can make it available everywhere.
Healthcare leaders recognize that workflow automation and AI are also critical in alleviating the pressure on their workforce constraints. Now that the availability of qualified staff has become a significant rate limiting factor in healthcare, we need to embed expertise into technology to make specialty skills more widely available. Take a complex imaging modality such as MR: selecting the right protocol for an exam takes a significant level of expertise. Smart algorithms can lend a helping hand, by learning from each hospital’s protocol preferences to automatically suggest the most suitable protocol for any given exam and patient anatomy. That’s how we can scale human expertise with machine learning to empower staff.
Younger healthcare professionals welcome the increased investments in digital technologies. In fact, our survey findings show they are asking for it. Being at the forefront of AI in healthcare is their top consideration in choosing where to work (selected by 49% of younger healthcare professionals), followed by being at the forefront of connected care delivery (44%). These responses suggest that digital innovation can also be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining talent as healthcare leaders are increasingly competing with other sectors for scarce professionals.
Interestingly, when asked what would make them feel most empowered to improve patient care, younger healthcare professionals cited, amongst others, better training on new technologies (38%) – illustrating the need for continuous education to help them get the most out of digital innovation. They would also like more opportunities to have their voice heard (39%). This underscores the importance of designing and optimizing ways of working with and not just for staff, as I outlined in my previous post on the cultural aspects of digital transformation.
Yes, digital technology can help relieve the burden on overstretched healthcare professionals – but only if we involve them from the start to ensure it serves their needs and workflows.