‘Absolutely a Priority’: How Digital Transformation Is Taking Off in Healthcare

“We knew we needed to perform better for our patients and for our health system,” Feen says. “For the early-adopter clinics that are supported by the new service center, we saw immediate performance increases that more than doubled performance.”

The service center relies on a number of tools from Avaya, including workforce management, speech analytics, call recording and callback assist, as well as Epic EHR integration that places the patient in the center of every call.

Digital transformation is helping Southcoast improve consumer and provider experiences. “Part of our mission with the tools, through automation and an attempt to simplify processes, is to help counteract staff burnout that has become pervasive in healthcare,” Feen says.

Expanding Patient Access with Digital-First Strategies

At Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, the largest children’s hospital in the U.S., IT and business leaders have made significant strides to enable online scheduling and check-in.

Starting in 2017, executive and ­physician leadership established an ­initiative to improve patient scheduling and access, which cemented a foundation that enabled Texas Children’s to accelerate digital transformation during the pandemic.

In March 2020, Texas Children’s stood up a COVID-19 command center to respond to patient needs, recognizing care would have to be delivered differently to meet patients in their communities.

EXPLORE: How the shift to digitally streamlined workflow helps improve care.

“During the pandemic, our families wanted less face-to-face interaction, and we were trying to provide a touchless experience,” says Roula Zoghbi Smith, assistant vice president for surgical practices and Texas Children’s Heart Center. “Families want to be able to schedule their appointment when it’s convenient for them.”

In 2021, the hospital scheduled more than 1 million appointments online, with more than 700,000 patients accessing scheduling and care via Epic’s MyChart patient portal — a 55 percent increase in users since 2019.

To support operational demands and collaboration, Texas Children’s implemented Microsoft Teams over an eight-month period from 2019 to 2020. Teams enabled greater collaboration and communication across employee and physician groups via video, text chat and Teams channels.

Standardizing and Strategizing with Digital Health Technologies

John Hamm, vice president of IT at Texas Children’s Hospital, notes that effective digital transformation requires more than just the latest technology. During 2019 and 2020, the organization rolled out agile methodology training to IT leaders and executives, preparing them to embrace rapid change.

“We delivered 40 percent more ­milestone goals during the same time, compared with previous years, using agile methodologies,” Hamm says. “We went from sitting in meetings and looking at target dates three or four months out to releasing new technology every two weeks.”


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