A holistic view of healthcare spaces for successful digital transformation

John Jobst, M. Eng., MBA

Strategy Consultant

Lennart Andersson, M. Arch

Director Owners’ Building Information Modeling (BIM)

A holistic view of healthcare spaces for successful digital transformation

26 October 2022 | 8min

Quick Takes

  • Accelerated digital transformation can’t be done without considering the bigger picture and roadmaps across the entire organization

  • Creating standardized processes and data structures is key to setting the foundation and success of digital transformation

  • Involving people at every level of transformation is critical to ensuring that the patient and staff experience is at its best

Digital transformation in healthcare is not just about the software you use. It is about the healthcare journey patients, staff, and other stakeholders experience within the healthcare spaces that is at the very heart of these transformations. The opportunity to infuse design when developing value-driven solutions that generate the highest returns on investment can make all the difference. 

We sat down with John Jobst and Lennart Andersson of Enstoa, a company dedicated to helping improve the financial performance of organizations delivering projects for the built environment from design and construction to handoff and maintenance. The team talks about leveraging data and analytics to generate a more holistic view of the processes, use of healthcare spaces, and resources that provide the foundation for healthcare delivery and patient care to help accelerate digital transformation in a way that meets the challenges of today.

The pathway to accelerated digital transformation

HT: Enstoa helps organizations through accelerated digital transformations. What does this mean specifically for the healthcare industry?

Lennart: Digital transformation is moving away from analog, people-based data centers into digital workflows. To find solutions that work, you need to first ask how do we gather and use data to run facilities better.

Achieving digital transformation can’t start with simply buying software. You must initially look at all your current organization and legacy processes. For example, how data is collected, formatted, and distributed? Who needs to access what and so on? In essence, it is about organizing data that reflect the actual state of your portfolio and making it easy to work with for each stakeholder. 

From that analysis, you can then understand how you work as a healthcare provider and where there are gaps and room for improvement. Once you’ve identified these, the implementation roadmap to create a more efficient and optimized healthcare facility can be crystallized. Only then do you decide on the software solution(s) you need.

John: Leaders are tasked with getting the organization from point A to point B, which given the current business landscape now requires them to go beyond the traditional focus of managing projects, reducing costs, and recovering costs that might have been overpaid or were simply unnecessary, to begin with. 

Instead of focusing on just one of these components at a time, much more value can be added when organizations consider a holistic, long-term view of how they can achieve digital transformation. Focusing on the big picture through a strategic roadmap, and marrying data with best practices in the operational process can help accelerate the journey and make the outcome much more successful. 

Elevating data insights to drive digital transformation

HT: What would you say are the most valuable data insights for organizations to understand as they focus on digital transformation in their healthcare facility?

Lennart: As you focus on digital transformation, there are several data insights that are most valuable. 

1. Mapping out your processes using digital twin tools to capture spaces, assets, people, and workflows to create visual representations of what is happening in your facility. 

2. Using the visual representation of these elements to understand, communicate, discuss, and decide on the best strategy forward.  

3. Implement digital processes that are cost-effective, quick, and easy to implement and adopt, with minimal upkeep to ensure that the datasets stay current. 

Traditionally you hire a consultant and they start to input data into a system. Because that input is not connected with the legacy ecosystem and requires specialized training to verify and update, it degrades over time. Therefore the data is no longer reflecting reality. This is where standardization coupled with the latest automated rapid reality capture and mobile sensors generates robust data sets that display a full picture of what the facility really is and build from that.

4. Use machine learning and technology-based tools to help in maintaining and updating the data. Many still have mainly analog operations, keeping things on paper and in silos in emails for example. True digitalization connects all the data flows in a way that is easy to use for the end user. They shouldn’t have to maintain very complex systems. 

Mindset shifts that can help healthcare leaders

HT: The healthcare industry has gone through some greatly accelerated transformations in the past few years. What are some of the mindset changes that you have seen in healthcare executives toward digital transformation?

Lennart: Some of the mindset changes of healthcare leaders that are undergoing, or wanting to implement digital transformation have been: 

1. The awareness of the extent of outdated and inaccurate data throughout their healthcare system.

2. Acknowledging the importance of a well-managed process to implement digital transformations correctly. 

3. Not expecting to simply spend money on these systems but rather having the maturity to know what to ask for. Often overlooked is how all the disparate pieces fit together and how those data streams can be connected.

4. The realization that there needs to be a solution ecosystem that serves the needs of all domains of the organization. This is best supported by having a transformation officer that sits outside the traditional department structure and having an outside consultant to manage sprints to get the process going.

John: On top of those points, I would also mention that the duration it takes organizations to successfully transform their digital landscape is directly correlated to the capabilities of their personnel, and the organization’s collective willingness to implement dramatic and sometimes drastic changes. 

There’s also no “best choice” of a target operating model – every organization is different. Those organizations that grasp the future power of digital, approach internal change in an agile and objective manner, and obtain full organizational support and buy-in before getting started are more successful. 

They understand that the way they have historically done business is going to change forever and tend to transform much faster than those organizations that see digital transformation as a task that needs to be accomplished within a certain time frame using specific technology they heard was “best” for their particular needs.

Setting up your executive and leadership team for success

HT: Do you find companies that are most successful in digital transformation would have implemented someone in their c-suite, such as a digital transformation officer?

Lennart: Change is hard. You must have a strategy. You must be mindful and do it step by step with a clear goal in mind. But, you can’t just end the old way and start anew because you’re dealing with people’s lives. This is why we are starting to see this position, or similar, pop-up throughout organizations to help guide the organization through the change. 

Transitioning into the new way without a connection with the old way of working never works. You end up with two camps and you have the old culture and the new one competing. That’s where a change manager needs to be socially aware and understand how the organization works. This way they can implement efforts that everybody can sign off on. That’s why something like spaces is a good starting point that everybody can agree upon. It’s very specific, but also easy to do and then build on top of from there.

Top 7 recommendations leaders should take for successful healthcare digital transformation

HT: What are the top actions you’d recommend healthcare executives take when going through digital healthcare transformations?

Lennart and John:

1 Establish your digital transformation goal. Know the why and the what it is you are trying to solve. Before you begin, define a target operating model that includes a future state organization, technology, and governance landscape to envision what your digital transformation journey will look like at the end. This big picture goal must come from the top. Successful implementation results in a simpler way of working. The best use of technology is when it becomes near invisible and represents a single source of truth. The documents, processes and change management are connected and self-organizing.
2 Accept how your digital transformation process can be achieved through discrete, achievable milestones. Don’t transform everything in one go. Start simple. Stay agile and don’t accept failure as an option. When you succeed with the first step, move on to the next and then keep going. In our experience, transforming your spaces first can help establish a strong foundational layer from which you can build upon.
3 Define how you will measure digital transformation progress and success. Progress of discrete work efforts can be measured through key performance indicators. The measurement of success should directly correlate to the target operating model and future state landscape initially developed as part of the leadership’s big picture goal.
4 Engage the different functional stakeholders needed to get the work done. Digital healthcare transformation is not just about taking operational processes, like design and construction, and making them digital. It’s not just about transforming facilities engineering from using paper-based maintenance forms to handheld electronic devices. It’s not just about barcoding bioengineering assets and entering them into a single database across all sites. It’s not just about customer service requests being routed to the same person the same way every time. It’s everything. It’s all the above, all the below. The correct roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities needed to execute the tasks in a holistic way have to be clear and all of the stakeholders have to be on board with the change.
5 Ensure collaborative dialogue in the decision-making process. All stakeholders need to be heard in order to succeed. There must be a collective and collaborative cross-functional environment where everyone has the chance to promote their opinions.
6 Obtain buy-in from key end users and journey participants at every level. Resistance may be found at every level and will be an obstacle when it comes to digital change. User adoption is the key to any digital transformation success.
7 Communicate a holistic culture, governance, and technology transformation for the entire organization. Executives often think that technology improvements will be the sole impetus for digital transformation without understanding the oversized impact that organizational culture and internal governance also has on the overall change. The right digital transformation roadmap includes the people and process journey, in addition to the technological changes that collectively will fully transform the organization.

John Jobst, M. Eng., MBA is a Director of Strategy & Consulting at Enstoa, where he leads the operations strategy and management consulting service line for Enstoa’s global clients. A technical and creative leader in the built environment with over 20 years of experience, John guides organizations toward transformation of their legacy projects and portfolios through the application of a digital strategy, target operating model, and transformation roadmap for today’s dynamic world.

Lennart Andersson, M. Arch Lennart is a Director of Enstoa’s Owners' BIM department. Driving the integration of BIM driven Reality capture for owners to supercharge space management and facilities operations. Lennart Andersson is an Engineer, Architect and AECO technology innovator. He has degrees in Engineering from Sweden and a Master’s of Architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design. With over 25 years of experience, he has applied Virtual Design, Construction & Operation methodologies on a wide variety of building typologies. Lennart is also a Professor at Pratt Institute in New York. He has authored Virtual Design, Constructions, and Operation (VDCO) guidelines, and spoken at numerous industry conferences.