Digital transformation: A healthcare buzzword that is hard to pull off

Even though 53 percent of hospital IT and clinical leaders see digital transformation as one of the most important goals for 2023 and 2024, the concept is still a work in progress for the industry. 

"Digital transformation is a tall order," Kathy Azeez-Narain, chief digital officer at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Hoag, told Becker's. "While it's the buzz across healthcare systems, it's an incredibly hard thing to pull off in healthcare for many reasons."

Ms. Azeez-Narain said the challenges to digital transformation are endless. 

"Operations, the walled garden of the EMR systems, the missing technical foundations to drive consumer level experiences and products, data privacy, regulatory needs, the data fragmentation, the processes and people needed to drive to change are all barriers," she said. 

But the two most challenging, according to Ms. Azeez-Narain, are cultural change and speed at which health systems can upgrade and adopt new technology. 

Ms. Azeez-Narain also said a lot of healthcare companies that are coming to market are building products with a tech-forward focus. She said they have to learn that healthcare demands human connection.

"They can move very fast and the entire culture of their organizations believe in technology powering where they go," she said. "The good news is that this is not a unique journey for healthcare, and based on my past experience, all industries face varying degrees of these challenges, but the two I called out can also be very daunting."

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