Enabling Digitalisation in Private Healthcare

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digitalisation in healthcare

It’s fair to say that technology has never been more important to modern-day society and businesses than it is right now. An unavoidable – and often thoroughly expected – aspect in our daily work and leisure lives, technology has driven rapid and fundamental change across all types of consumer services from banking and insurance to entertainment, retail, and healthcare. 

We use the term ‘digitalisation‘ or ‘digital transformation’ when we talk about this integration of digital technology into our everyday lives – but also to understand the way that technology creates, or reimagines, processes and employee experiences to meet changing market demands or new business requirements.  

In essence, digital transformation also describes a cultural shift. It requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo, to adapt to changing trends, and provide added value and better digital experiences to consumers and employees alike with greater levels of simplicity and crucially accessibility. 

Digitalisation helps members of staff work smarter, improves overall productivity, and provides a foundation for scalability so that organisations can work responsively as business needs grow and change 

Digital transformation touchpoints 

Of course, whilst each organisation’s digital transformation plan will depend upon its own unique goals, challenges, and requirements, most digital transformation strategies share commonalities associated with the below:  

  • Customer experience 
  • Operational agility 
  • Culture and leadership 
  • Workforce enablement 
  • Digital technology integration 
  • Data privacy and security 

Before moving forward with any digital transformation programme, then, it will be important to discuss and understand your organisation’s expectations and aspirations for each phase. A transparent and collaborative managed service provider will ensure that impactful, measurable, and concerted efforts are made toward key business goals in the initial planning stage. 

The role of digitalisation in healthcare 

As modern technology continues to enhance all types of consumer services, digital health transformation is no exception – and this is particularly true in the private healthcare sphere, where patients pay a premium expecting superior service and value for money.   

Indeed, over the past two decades, many healthcare providers have adopted new digital technologies across their various functional areas – and many more still have plans to move to a fully digitalised offline-to-online patient journey (particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic proved that virtual healthcare delivered directly to patients at home was not only a necessity but also a preference for many).  

For the private healthcare industry, digitalisation has opened new opportunities in the way healthcare services are delivered, whilst also removing barriers to treatment and improving patient outcomes.  

Furthermore, many healthcare facilities up and down the UK have acknowledged an acceleration in patients taking charge of their own health decisions over the last few years, finding that incorporating digital transformation into their business strategy allows for a much more market-friendly and patient-centric approach. 

Key technologies associated with digital health transformation 

Telemedicine, AI-enabled medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records are just a few examples of digital transformation already taking place in healthcare.  

In no uncertain terms, digital innovation is key when it comes to streamlining medical professionals’ workloads, optimising healthcare systems, safely processing patient data, improving customer experiences, reducing human error, and, of course, keeping costs within budget. 

Below we take a closer look at some of the digital trends carving out the future of healthcare:

On-demand healthcare  

Busy lives and packed schedules mean that more and more (particularly private) patients are seeking on-demand healthcare. From booking follow-up appointments on mobile apps to carrying out remote video consultations, most private patients would prefer to use apps on mobile devices to access healthcare services. If we factor in that almost 60% of all website traffic in 2022 came from mobile devices, you can start to see the possibilities that digital transformation in healthcare has to offer. 

Wearable medical devices 

Another trend of digitalisation in healthcare is that companies are collecting their own health data from medical devices, including wearable technology. Traditionally, patients may have undergone a physical exam once a year (at best), only seeking medical advice if they fell ill or hurt themselves.  

In the digital age, however, patients and healthcare providers can focus much more heavily on prevention and maintenance since they have easy access to data about their general health, and we know that prevention is cheaper, faster and more effective than reactive cures. Wearable devices also allow healthcare providers to personalise the healthcare experience and lend patients a sense of ownership over their own quality of life. Wearable devices may include:  

  • Heart rate sensors 
  • Exercise and activity trackers 
  • Continuous glucose monitors – used for diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels 
  • Oximeters – monitors the amount of oxygen carried in the blood 

The use of big data 

Big data refers to the large, diverse sets of information which are collected through various digital formats, e.g., social media, e-commerce, online financial transactions, and from other internet-enabled devices. For the healthcare industry, big data is useful because it can be used to identify patterns and trends, providing several important benefits to the industry, including:  

  • Lower rate of medication errors (using patient record analysis) 
  • Facilitating preventive care  
  • Estimating staffing requirements  
  • Predicting which illnesses and diseases will become major issues

With this in mind, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies would do well to invest in technologies which facilitate the safe storage and organisation of data (such as cloud solutions), protected by cyber security operating centres, and thereby helping providers to better understand their market and comply with data protection regulations.  


The benefits of digital transformation for healthcare 

Digital transformation is a significant and positive way for private healthcare providers to address industry-challenges such as rising consumer expectations, increasing patient numbers, and intensified market competition. This is because, as we know, digital innovation is about so much more than simply ‘modernising’ healthcare. Instead, its focus is on the fundamental transformation of the healthcare business model to one that provides proactive patient care and is much more accessible.  

For private healthcare facilities looking to work with digital transformation service providers to make this shift, the benefits can be vast:

Helps customer acquisition and loyalty  

Digital transformation plays a critical role when it comes to demand generation, aggregation, and capture of new patients, but it also supports the nurturing of lifetime or long-term customers through added value and service quality.  

Digitally driven models with the ability to analyse and leverage data afford healthcare organisations insight into the market as well as their own customer-base. This means that healthcare is more personalised, efficient, and agile, therefore increasing the value customers receive.  

We mustn’t forget that, for consumers, expectations have changed dramatically in nearly every other industry, from financial services to restaurants to retail and travel – it’s imperative that healthcare is as positive in adapting the changes to meet these higher expectations.  

Allows for technological innovation 

Health technology companies have experienced record-breaking funding over the past few years – great news for healthcare providers looking to leverage the resulting digital innovations and create entirely new sources of revenue through emerging products and services. 

For instance, heavy investment has been made into digital platforms with the ability to simplify and standardise healthcare for patients. Indeed, healthcare providers whose operations centre around such platforms will find they can streamline transactions, communications, and engagement with patients, whilst also optimising resources and reducing employee burnout.  

Opens new business models 

Beyond driving customer acquisition and retention, digital transformation could also change the economics of healthcare and support new business models to facilitate growth. This is because digital transformation enables scalable solutions, allowing for more direct, personalised, and meaningful consumer interactions.  

For example, through digital transformation, healthcare systems have the power to segment customers across different patient populations, conditions, and needs. This means providers may allocate premium services, products, and information to customers with common needs or desires. Segmentation such as this helps create different, more specific messages for each customer and helps healthcare facilities to service them in the best possible way. 

As we enter 2023, then, the potential of digital transformation – particularly for private healthcare – seems very promising. As with any industry, the goal of technology is to facilitate and drive innovation, helping to create new products and services that address the industry’s challenges and fulfil the requirements of the target client base.


If you have started on your digital transformation journey and would like to discuss how Littlefish can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and support your digital transition and growth efforts, feel free to get in touch through the contact button. 

Discover how we support our customers on their digital transformation journeys here.

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