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COVID-19 is pushing healthcare firms to embrace digital transformation, reports suggest

Published on 16/07/20 at 12:48pm

The COVID-19 pandemic forced industries across the board to evolve or die with regard to their approach to digital working as global lockdowns made the old ways untenable, and healthcare was no exception. New reports have suggested that the sector is embracing digital transformation and accelerating this development in their companies to respond to the new challenges emerging from the shadow of the pandemic.

A recent Twilio survey of over 2,500 companies worldwide found that 74% of firms in the healthcare sector had accelerated the development of their digital operations in response to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Only companies in the energy and tech sectors were found to be more likely to have done the same.

The study also found that 79% of respondent companies had increased their budgets for digital. Meanwhile, a new white paper, ‘What’s next in digital healthcare transformation post COVID-19?’, highlighted funding as the largest barrier to digital transformation, reported by 30% of the paper’s 150 responding senior executives, consultants and digital-tech leaders,  

This is set against a lucrative backdrop, with projections from Global Market Insights suggesting that the global digital health market will break $504 billion by 2025.

This ramping up of digital operations can be in part explained by Hassan Chaudhury, Digital Health Lead at Healthcare UK, part of the Department of International Trade (DIT) and co-founder of the TECH4CV19 community, who is quoted in the white paper, suggesting the crisis could have actually removed previous obstacles from the decision-making process: “COVID-19 certainly appeared to create a sense of panic, which led to many of the ‘blockers’ in the system saying ‘yes’ to the adoption of virtual consulting services.”

In response to the white paper’s question, “Will COVID-19 drive changes in healthcare provision in the future?” 95% said yes. This was echoed by 92% of respondents to the Twilio survey, who said that it was at least somewhat likely that their companies would move to expand their digital operations.

The white paper is calling on national governments to ensure there are sufficiently funding in order to access the resources they need to support this transformation. Mindy Daeschner, Managing Partner in Daeschner Consulting and author of the white paper, commented: “The report reinforces the catalytic effect that COVID-19 has had on the adoption of digital technology to support patients. It also indicates a significant shift in attitude within the healthcare provider setting, with providers wanting patients to take greater responsibility for their own health and wellbeing through the use of technology. Hopefully this is just the beginning and we can all start to benefit from ongoing investment in the use of technology to support improved patient outcomes.”

Matt Fellows

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