Four things every CIO needs to do to accelerate mHealth innovation

The healthcare technology industry has been booming in recent times, with many healthcare providers across the globe investing in technology to streamline and improve healthcare delivery and reporting.

From telehealth to facilities management to patient condition tracking, technology is being used in nearly every facet of healthcare operations. In fact, Juniper Research reported that in four years, more than 157 million people will be using mobile health tools.

For many in the healthcare space, these new tools and technologies represent a significant paradigm shift in the way the industry operates. However, the rise of all these new solutions and devices can also be a source of confusion, especially as healthcare continues to pivot towards digitalization. How can healthcare providers use these tools to drive innovation and which technologies are pivotal for delivering more value to patients?

While there are a number of paths that healthcare providers can take depending on their objectives, the underlying key to a successful mHealth strategy is leveraging digital applications that are powered by an enterprise health cloud.

The Rise of the Enterprise Health Cloud
It’s no secret that healthcare has been a bit late to the game when it comes to digital transformation. While other industries rushed to implement new digital technologies, ever-changing regulations and rigid systems of record were a hindrance for many in the healthcare space.

Enter the enterprise health cloud — cloud platforms that can consolidate all the data from Electronic Health Record and other systems of record and empower healthcare organizations to use this data to deliver innovative, secure patient experiences. The rise of enterprise health clouds is helping healthcare organizations address many of the common digital challenges that stumped them in the past, enabling healthcare providers to adopt an agile, customer-centric approach that many other industries have already moved to.

When CIOs deploy an enterprise health cloud, they are effectively unlocking a whole host of possibilities that enable them to be more innovative and agile. Enterprise health clouds empower healthcare organizations to:

• Accelerate the development of new apps and modification of existing apps
• Ensure all apps are compliant, as they are all built on the same standard stack
• Consolidate data across multiple applications and eliminate silos to develop a unified view of patients
• Improve patient outcomes and engage patients in a more effective manner across all application experiences
• Keep up with the breakneck pace of digital change

Enterprise health cloud adoption is growing quickly, with MarketsandMarkets forecasting the healthcare cloud computing market to reach $9.48 billion by 2020 (up from $3.73 billion in 2015). How healthcare organizations leverage this technology to improve the patient experience will play a pivotal role in determining their future success. Healthcare organizations offering antiquated, patient-unfriendly approaches will fall by the wayside, making way for those who provide new, innovative experiences to their patients.

The Onus Is on CIOs
Now that healthcare has finally arrived at the digital era, the onus is back on the CIOs to capitalize on this new technology. Enterprise health clouds are helping healthcare organizations do much more than they could in the past and it’s up to CIOs to encourage their organizations to be more innovative with digital applications that push the conventional boundaries.

With this in mind, here are four tips for healthcare CIOs who want to take advantage of enterprise health clouds to make a bigger impact:

1. Evaluate Vendors Quickly
Enterprise health clouds allow CIOs to pick one or two use cases and quickly see if these use cases can be delivered on the platforms. CIOs should ensure that the evaluation criteria forces vendors to prove their track record, show all the features they have via demos and most importantly, make sure the end result has working apps that can be validated.

2. Accelerate Application Development
With an enterprise health cloud, CIOs are free to launch new apps quickly to see how they perform. This will help CIOs explore new opportunities but also means they aren’t wasting as much time if the application doesn’t do its job effectively. Remember, nothing is sacred - expect about 50 percent of projects to fail or have very low adoption. That is okay.

On the other end of the spectrum, some digital app experiences will take off and provide great value to the business. The key is learning from mistakes and moving forward quickly, with each setback paving the way to an even greater success. Application delivery shouldn't be measured in months or years, it should be – and with enterprise health clouds, can be - weeks.

3. Be Agile and Scalable
Working with a partner offers an appropriate infrastructure to combine their enterprise health cloud with an ecosystem of ISVs, providing healthcare organizations with off-the-shelf digital health apps. Additionally, system integrators and dev shops that have deep expertise in the enterprise health cloud technology can help deliver custom apps on the platform quickly.

While this setup enables healthcare organizations to be agile, that agility shouldn’t come at the cost of scale either - scaling shouldn't be cost prohibitive. CIOs should look to work with vendors that tie their success to the success of the healthcare organization with a pricing model that aligns costs with the key results of the digital program.

4. Compliance, Operations & ROI Built In
Pushing digital applications to live is only step one – CIOs need to be able to follow through after launch as well. Tracking compliance, providing end-user support and measuring ROI – these are all activities that must be done on a daily basis throughout the life of the application. Ensure that the apps and the enterprise health cloud are designed around these post-launch capabilities from conception so they aren’t tacked on as afterthoughts.

In today’s digital world, customer experiences are universal. Despite strict regulations and other limitations, people expect healthcare organizations to be able to match the digital experiences they can get from any other company or industry. With enterprise health clouds and an innovative digital health program, there is no reason healthcare organizations can’t innovate like a startup and deliver like a compliant healthcare enterprise.

By Sravish Sridhar, GM, Kinvey, Progress

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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