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article imageBenchmarking the adoption of digital health technology

By Tim Sandle     Sep 22, 2017 in Health
The tenth PwC report into the ‘digital health IQ’ of looks at the state of companies operating in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector and it shows a faster, although sometimes uneven, rate of adoption of healthcare technology.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the multinational professional services network, has been undertaking regular reviews of business and IT executives. The 2017 edition of their survey has focused on healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences organizations, looking at how technologies are being adopted and how companies in these sectors are developing strategies for digital transformation.
This article is the first of three which take stock of the implications of the PwC report. Whereas this article looks at the overall findings, the second article looks at the imperative for putting the patient experience at the center of healthcare technology developments. The third article considers the skill sets needed by those working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.
The new report, titled “2017 Global Digital IQ Survey - Healthcare, pharmaceutical & life sciences” draws out three main trends for the sector. The first finding is about the general take-up of digital technology. The survey relates the data gathered back to the first survey in the series, conducted in 2007. Ten years ago executives stated that the adoption of technology was something of “strategic and operational importance.” Comparing this optimism with 2017, the new survey shows that the expansion of new technology has not occurred as quickly as anticipated. One reason for this is with not always having a champion at the top of the organization. This is captured in the statistic which showed just 63 percent of CEOs being perceived as champions for digital technology. Here there has been a reduction from the 72 percent rating from the 2015 survey. The better news is that the 63 percent rating compares favorably against other sectors of the economy.
The second headline is about the ability of employees to work with digital technology – drawing in the ‘human factors’. This is central to the concept of ‘digital IQ’, which considers how an organization adapts to change and utilizes emerging technology to advance company goals. The 2017 survey found that many employed in the health sector were rated as lacking essential technology skills. This means that the aims of healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences executives, to push new health technologies, are sometimes at odds with medical staff who do not always see the necessity or the advantages. Health technology companies have a task in front of the them to convince the medical world that technology which incorporates patient-centered designs will enhance (and, crucially not replaces) patient encounters. PwC’s report stresses the importance of emphasizing how technology can be used to create more time for patient communication.
The third, and final, main finding is about the concept of ‘digital technology’ itself. The misapprehension that digital equals IT is shared by 34 percent of health executives. This proportion remains largely unchanged since 2015. To truly embrace digital transformation, the digital process needs to be seen as something affecting, influencing and disrupting each element of the organization.
The report highlight’s some interesting trends, showing that healthcare, as with other sectors continues to remain in a state of flux as digital disruption continues to make waves. The need for an holistic strategy is paramount.
If this article was of interest, head over to the second part which weights in on "Where is digital health technology heading next?"
More about digital health, healthtech, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals
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