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Covid-19 has Forced Digital Health Transformation

According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, while Covid-19 has advanced the digital health transition, there remain discrepancies in health IT adoption of technologies that aid healthcare planning and preparation (JMIR). From February to March 2021, researchers from the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) Business School polled 135 CEOs of healthcare systems.

The survey looked at the differences between four types of digital orientations in the health care system: analytics-oriented digital technologies (AODT), customer-oriented digital technologies (CODT), growth and innovation–oriented digital technologies (GODT), and futuristic and experimental digital technologies (FEDT).

Many health systems implemented consumer-facing health IT products that integrate with current EHR systems to support virtual care delivery as Covid-19 inundated the industry. Despite these gains, the researchers discovered discrepancies in the adoption of growth or futuristic digital orientations, which are intended to help prepare for future healthcare disruptions.Health systems in the Midwest and South are more likely than those in other parts of the country to employ growth or futuristic technology strategies, according to the study. Low-revenue and non-investor-owned health systems are more likely to embrace GODT and FEDT orientation, according to the survey.

This could be due to financial constraints as well as a lack of technical assistance or health IT capabilities, according to the study. The authors recommend that stakeholders construct a national policy approach that includes financial incentives to encourage widespread adoption of futuristic growth-based health IT orientations. It’s past time for a national roadmap to guide health systems in maximising the promise of digital transformation; yet, a lack of consistency will aggravate disparities in outcomes among health systems and regions in the United States.

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