Digital transformation is rapidly changing healthcare. In the past decade, there has been an exponential growth in health technologies, with new innovations constantly emerging, from wearable health devices to artificial intelligence-powered diagnostic tools. From electronic health records to telemedicine, these technologies are transforming the way care is delivered, making it more efficient and effective than ever before. However, the success of this transformation depends, amongst other factors, on a solid infrastructure and a well-trained health workforce.
One of the most significant benefits of health technology is the ability to improve patient data management. Electronic health records (EHRs) are replacing paper-based medical records, making it easier for healthcare providers to access and share patient data securely. With the right information, EHRs can improve patient safety by reducing the risk of medication errors and providing accurate, up-to-date information about a patient’s medical history. Nevertheless, data in healthcare is often siloed, fragmented, and inaccessible, leading to duplication of efforts, errors, and missed opportunities. That is why there is an urgent need for I.T. infrastructure, hardware and software, that can enable the seamless interchange of data between different systems and stakeholders. Moreover, citizens fear that their data may be sold or shared with third parties without their knowledge or consent, or that it could be used to discriminate against them by employers or insurers due to pre-existing conditions.
Another critical aspect of digital transformation in healthcare is understanding the skills needs of the health workforce. While digital tools can automate many routine tasks, they require trained professionals to manage them, interpret data, and provide high-quality care. Therefore, health systems need to invest in training their staff in digital literacy and attracting professionals skilled in data analytics. Moreover, they should recruit and retain professionals who possess not only technical skills but also critical thinking, communication, and empathy. These soft skills will become ever more essential in complementing the numerous benefits digitalisation can provide for the delivery of personalised care in multi-disciplinary teams that address the diverse needs of patients and communities.
In summary, digital transformation in healthcare is not just about technology, but also about people and their capacity to leverage it for the benefit of patients and society. For these reasons, health managers play a key role in guiding digital transformation of healthcare by ensuring that technological solutions are designed and implemented in an inclusive, co-designed, efficient and effective way.
Health technology and digital transformation is one of five topics that were identified as trends in healthcare and refines the five tracks behind the EHMA 2023 programme. Tracks and topics have been selected in consultation with our Board of Directors, our Scientific Advisory Committee, and our members.
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