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Digital Transformation Nascent Among Providers, Payers

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 21, 2017

Only 10% of payers and providers say they are actively executing digital transformation, but the number is expected to grow as the maturity curve accelerates.

"Digital transformation" is a term that's used loosely in healthcare. It doesn't mean what the same thing to everyone.

When Jeff Rivkin, research director at IDC Health Insights, talks with industry leaders about "digital transformation," he often hears about efforts associated with an organization's EHR/EMR system.

"Was that really a disruption?" he asks. "Or did you just automate the chart?"

Rivkin says automating a manual process is a good start, but is only the beginning of digital disruption, which he calls "a multifaceted experience."

According to a report from IDC Health Insights, only 10% of payers and providers say they are actively executing digital transformation, which it says includes "leadership, omni-experience, information, operating model, and workforce transformation."

Instead of actively executing digital transformation, most respondents to the survey are in the pilot or research phase of digital transformation initiatives, which is "just dipping their toes," Rivkin says.

The survey included 282 providers and 58 payers who were asked about their digital strategies and investments.

"The idea was to see where on the maturity curve providers and payers were," Rivkin says.

The 'Big 3' Initiatives
Although this year's 10% number is small, it's expected to be much higher next year. The survey shows that 42% of providers and 58% of payers are either piloting programs or have a digital transformation strategy in the production phase.

Among both providers and payers, digital transformation makes up 30% of new health IT initiatives. The three biggest areas that survey respondents are investing in are big data, analytics, and security.

"The ones that commit to it are going to be the big winners, and the ones that don't could be the losers in regards to survival, especially in the payer area," Rivkin says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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