Published Thursday 27th February 2020
It is clear that for any business to succeed in the modern world, it needs to take full advantage of new technologies. Advancements in a range of areas have revolutionised how consumers and companies interact and failing to keep up with today’s standards can be terminal to firms in competitive sectors.
For many industries, the implementation of new technologies is relatively straightforward. If it makes business sense, it’s often a case of when before the question of how is considered. For the healthcare sector, however, those priorities have to be flipped.
As with any other sector, healthcare companies are now turning to modern technologies to create more efficient and successful workflows. However, in such a sensitive business, privacy and security remain the top concern. Healthcare businesses need to strike the right balance between maximising their technology implementation but in a way that protects the relationship between consumers and providers that is so important to the industry.
Protecting Trust in Healthcare
Large swathes of the healthcare sector rely on sensitive, personalised data to deliver the best possible service to their customers. In turn, customers must allow companies to look after their information if they wish to enjoy an excellent, quick service. This relationship, particularly its importance to business performance, is unlike almost any other sector.
Despite its critical nature, the relationship between healthcare companies and customers has been fragile for many years. In January, the University of Manchester held citizens’ juries to gauge public opinions on the handling of data by the NHS and other healthcare companies, reaffirming the widely-held concerns.
According to the research, the public appeared to be more accepting of the fact that their data might be used but were still suspicious about how far data sharing will go.
At the end of 2019, widespread questions were asked after it emerged that Amazon had signed a contract with the NHS that gave it free use of its healthcare information. The move was widely criticised at the time, not just because the NHS could not make money from the deal but also for the way it had been conducted.
Knowledge of the agreement between the NHS and Amazon only came to light after freedom of information requests were granted. The people responsible for unearthing the contract said that the main issue wasn’t necessarily the data sharing itself but the lack of transparency in which it was agreed.
A similar point was made in the recent study by the University of Manchester, who said that transparency and communication would be vital in a technological healthcare future.
Using Technology to Improve Healthcare Services
The evidence for why healthcare companies should be turning to technology is apparent, and also links back to the vital customer-provider relationship.
The personal service in the healthcare industry is vital to its success. Despite concerns over the pitfalls, with the amount of technology in everyday society, people will expect a similar level of personalisation and convenience when it comes to something as important as their health.
At the end of January, the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) and 111 Directory of Services (DoS) both completed their transitions to a cloud-based service. These were two of the first major public health systems to complete the migration, promoted by the government to deliver a more efficient and less expensive service.
Both e-RS and DoS are critical parts of the NHS service, handling vital sensitive information for millions of customers. Neil Bennett, Director of Services at NHS Digital, noted that the move to the cloud would improve security and reliability, acknowledging the importance of those factors to the overall service.
Implementing New Technologies in the Healthcare Sector
It is clear at this point that for healthcare providers to continue performing going forward, new technologies will have to be utilised. However, as recent research and case studies show, the implementation of such technologies needs to be done in a way that is clear to consumers, with that relationship of trust at the forefront.
Here at Expense Reduction Analysts, we’ve worked with the healthcare industry for many years and understand the importance of placing the service user at the heart of every business decision. Our healthcare cost reduction consultants can work with your business, helping to save money in a range of cost areas. This newfound capital can then be used to invest in the implementation of new technologies, helping to safeguard the long-term future of your business.
If you’re interested in discovering what our healthcare industry specialists could do for you, why not get in contact with us today to discuss your requirements?