AWS Marketplace

The latest transformation trends in healthcare

Digital transformation is ranked by 69 percent of healthcare organizations as a high-level priority. This finding, from a recent 2023 survey, suggests leaders understand the importance of digital innovation in overcoming today’s healthcare industry challenges.

To understand the digital transformations taking place in healthcare, I recently moderated a webinar titled Latest transformation trends in healthcare. The webinar opened with relevant findings from a recent survey by Becker’s Healthcare. Panelists from Arcadia, Infor, and Rhapsody joined the conversation to share how these findings resonate for their companies and customers.

In this post, I provide an overview of the topics covered in the webinar.

Becker’s Healthcare survey reveals today’s healthcare transformation trends and challenges

Molly Gamble, vice president of editorial for Becker’s Healthcare, kicked off the webinar with results from her organization’s healthcare transformation trends survey. The survey, performed in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), gathered responses from 115 healthcare leaders. 

I highlight several key takeaways from the survey and weave in commentary from the other panelists representing AWS Marketplace solutions. This commentary comes from the Q&A portion of the webinar and illustrates how the findings from the Becker’s Healthcare survey play out across the industry.

Key survey takeaway: Healthcare leaders are prioritizing digital transformation to achieve operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved patient outcomes

Almost 70 percent of respondents ranked digital transformation as a priority level four or five (out of five) in their organization. Over half said they have invested in their electronic health records (EHRs), analytics, and mobile-based patient experiences in the past year. According to Gamble, respondents’ goals for these cloud technology investments are operational efficiencies, improved patient outcomes, and cost savings.

Panelist Charles Koontz was unsurprised to hear that healthcare organizations are investing in cloud capabilities to achieve these goals. Koontz is the healthcare strategy leader for Infor, a provider of augmented healthcare intelligence. “Cloud infrastructure is a much more efficient, cost-effective way of delivering software to a client and user community. The vendor can upgrade it in a very timely fashion, and you’re not worrying about having on-premises staff maintaining the systems.”

Mary Kuchenbrod, vice president of operations for Arcadia, a population health management platform, sees another important role for cloud technology. “A lot of healthcare data exists today that we’re not using. We need more robust systems to handle the breadth and depth of data we anticipate moving and using as our models and predictive suggestions mature.”

Kuchenbrod explained that cloud infrastructure can help organizations take advantage of the available information on patients and their care. This leads to improved patient outcomes.

Key survey takeaway: Budget constraints and limited staff are barriers to digital transformation

Survey respondents identified budget constraints as a top barrier to digital transformation. “It’s interesting how digital transformation is two things at once,” Gamble noted. “It’s a top priority, but budget constrictions mean spending in this category is under greater scrutiny and pressure for demonstrated results.”

Respondents also ranked staff shortages as a top barrier. With limited budgets and limited staff, health system leaders are taking a step back to ask strategic questions before pursuing transformation.

Our webinar panelists agreed that today’s healthcare landscape requires leaders to be selective with digital transformation initiatives. They also agreed that digital innovation can help alleviate budget and workforce challenges in the long run.

“Our customers are looking deep into their infrastructures to gain efficiencies of scale with digital transformation,” said panelist Shelley Wehmeyer. Wehmeyer is the senior director for product and partner marketing at Rhapsody, a healthcare data interoperability solutions provider. “They’re asking the right questions to eliminate manual processes and extend the investments they’ve already made in their systems and people.”

Koontz sees artificial intelligence (AI) as a valid tool for relieving administrative burdens. “A great example is a nurse wasting a lot of time searching for a piece of equipment,” he explained. “Supply chain intelligence could save time here and allow the clinical staff to do what they need to do to drive outcomes.”

Key survey takeaway: EHRs remain the backbone of the modern healthcare system

“One clear takeaway from our survey is that attention, investment, and expectations for the EHR are still going strong,” said Gamble. “The EHR was the top investment for enterprise solutions, outranking analytics and population health.”

Gamble’s mention of EHRs sparked an extended discussion among the panelists. “I’m a big proponent of the EHR as a platform theory,” said Wehmeyer. “It’s going to be central to any of the best-of-breed applications or specialty workflows that connect to it.”

But Wehmeyer acknowledged that EHRs must improve in scalability and efficiency to accommodate the new ways organizations are using them. An example she cited is the ability of EHRs to match patient identities and terminologies across systems without human intervention.

Koontz agreed that EHRs don’t exist in a vacuum. “Data is in disparate systems, and there’s a need to pull this data together in some cohesive manner to improve workflows,” he explained. “We’re seeing data mined out of the EHR and coupled with data from other systems for more insightful decisions.”

Data integration between EHRs and other applications is an area where Kuchenbrod sees room for improvement. “Historically, EHR vendors have not treated their own data exhaust as a first-class customer. But that’s going to become more important in a world where ecosystems of software applications center around the EHR. Surfacing all that patient data easily and integrating it with other applications is required to drive analytical insight.”

About AWS Marketplace

How can your organization address digital transformations like those discussed in the webinar? AWS Marketplace has a wide variety of healthcare solutions to help organizations modernize their infrastructures.

AWS Marketplace is a curated digital catalog that makes it easy for customers to find, buy, deploy, and manage third-party software, services, and data. It offers quick, easy, and secure deployment, flexible consumption and contract models, and streamlined procurement and billing operations. Over 330,000 organizations, large and small, use AWS Marketplace monthly to accelerate digital transformation and improve efficiencies across their enterprises. Research from Forrester estimates it takes half the time to find, buy, and deploy solutions through AWS Marketplace compared to other channels.

Visit Healthcare solutions and software in AWS Marketplace to learn more about the healthcare cloud solutions available in AWS Marketplace.

Conclusion and next steps

Digital transformation is a top priority among healthcare organizations. In particular, providers are focused on achieving operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved patient outcomes. As illustrated by the experiences of our webinar panelists, cloud technology is helping providers attain these goals.

I’ve only touched on some of the great commentary provided by our panelists in this post. View Latest transformation trends in healthcare to hear more about the digital transformation trends and challenges in today’s healthcare landscape.

About the author

michael-leonardMichael Leonard is responsible for developing AWS Partner Organization healthcare partnerships and growing healthcare vertical business in AWS Marketplace and AWS Data Exchange. His previous role was as a principal product manager on the AWS Storage Gateway team. Over the past 20 years, Michael has progressed through various roles in business development, product management, and engineering. In addition to AWS, Michael has worked for Commvault, Iron Mountain, Merge Healthcare, and GE Healthcare. He built and managed teams to develop healthcare IT solutions focused on medical imaging, EHR systems, hybrid cloud storage services, and data protection solutions.