Healthcare Trend Watch — Digital healthcare organizations are emerging

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This post is taken from an article by Robin L. Rose, MBA VP, Healthcare Resource Group, HealthStream, where she looks ahead at the coming year, with an eye to big picture trends that could have a significant impact on how we provide and experience care.

Digital healthcare organizations are emerging.

  • Patient portals
  • Patient literacy
  • Cost transparency
  • Digital payments
  • Referral management
  • Wearables

These are just a few of the challenges healthcare organizations are tackling as they increasingly move from paper and manual processes to being a truly digital organization. One analyst explains, “When thinking digital transformation, I find it useful to define what it is not. It isn’t just about automation of processes or jobs, or even new technology. It’s much bigger and more fundamental than that. Digital transformation requires rethinking business processes. It’s about using digital technologies and data to put the customer at the center of your business. To succeed in digital transformation, look at your company’s ecosystem and determine ways you can drive more value for the customer” (Gupta, 2018).

Big Digital Initiatives to Look for

So, what digital initiatives are IT leaders targeting as we move into 2019? In a recent survey by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and AVIA, a national network of health systems working together to solve pressing challenges with digital solutions, some 75 percent of hospital executives reported that digital innovation will be a priority in their organizations (Van Wagenen, 2017). Together, the AHA and AVIA have laid out five priorities for digital innovation in the U.S. (Van Wagenen, 2017):

  1. Patient-generated data and customized services: New technologies such as wearables can help providers take better care of patients with chronic conditions through constant monitoring or proactively managing population health needs.
  2. Network utilization and management: Digital solutions can help health systems keep patients in their network in a variety of ways, such as tracking patient utilization data, simplifying scheduling, and confirming referral appropriateness, etc.
  3. Referral management and in-network retention: Logic-based digital tools can help match the right patient to the right physician at the right time through more effective referral management.
  4. Social community support: Digital solutions can play a major role in improving public health and supporting underserved populations by such things as improving care coordination and outcomes.
  5. Convenient patient access: Digital solutions can make it easier for patients to access their healthcare services such as patient records, telemedicine or virtual exams.

Additional Healthcare Trends to Watch

Other trends identified in this full article include:

  • Amazon is becoming a major disrupter in many areas of healthcare
  • Healthcare costs are becoming scarier than the illness itself.
  • We need to prepare for new health risks from weather and other disasters.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is dramatically changing healthcare
  • We are finally addressing population health.
  • CMS is changing course.
  • We need more joy in healthcare work.
  • The nursing shortage is getting worse.
  • There is also a physician shortage.



Gupta, Mayur, “Digital transformation in health care: 5 areas of immediate growth,” Vision Critical, accessed Oct. 21, 2018,

Van Wagenen, Juliet, “The Top 5 Digital Innovations Transforming Healthcare Organizations,” Health Tech Magazine, Dec. 11, 2017, https://healthtech­

Download the complete article here.


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