3 biggest challenges in healthcare transformation according to industry leaders

3 biggest challenges in healthcare transformation according to industry leaders

5 October 2021 | 5min

Quick Takes

  • In late 2020, we reached out to over 100 healthcare executives and c-suite decision makers to understand their biggest challenges in healthcare transformation

  • The top 3 challenges faced were: 1) financial limitations, 2) the availability of a skilled workforce, and 3) implementing new technology

  • Shared success strategies from respondents include looking outside of healthcare settings for solutions to enhance patient experience, and collaborating with useful partners to help fill needed skills gaps

We are moving into a period of unprecedented change – a 4th Industrial Revolution. Artificial intelligence, automation, and big data have all moved beyond their infancy, forcing leaders to grapple with a set of newly evolved challenges in healthcare.

We reached out to healthcare executives and c-suite decision makers worldwide to get a deeper understanding of: 

  • The main challenges executives face during this transformative era in healthcare
  • The main drivers of transformation
  • Strategies executives implement to successfully transform

We conducted interviews and sent out surveys to over 100 individuals from US, UK and China working in commercial laboratories, private & public hospital groups and academic institutions.  The answers received were varied and covered many perspectives. However, there were 3 overarching challenges that emerged. 

To learn more, download our free ebook. 

The biggest challenges for healthcare executives and decision makers

Challenge 1: Financial limitations

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89% respondents identified funding and budgetary constraints as the  number one  challenge to achieving  the organization’s innovation and transformation goals. Around the world,this can fundamentally be attributed to the increasing demand for healthcare caused by various factors including expanding and aging populations, and an increase in chronic diseases.Coupled with diminishing payments and reimbursements, there remains limited funding for innovation and transformation projects. 

Challenge 2: Availability of a skilled workforce 

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The transformation of healthcare is highly dependent on the availability of a skilled workforce. 63% of respondents agreed that up-skilling existing staff was the second greatest barrier to overcome. Attracting new talent, specifically for innovation and transformation purposes, ranked third out of the challenges faced while trying to transform healthcare (59%).

The recent pandemic has accelerated the use of new technologies including telemedicine and telehealth. 

Challenge 3: Implementing new technology

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Implementing new technology is not an easy process. There are many competing solutions and options on the market and it can be difficult to assess which option will best suit an organization’s specific needs. Many executives and c-suite decision makers not only find it hard to choose the optimal solution but also find the practical matters of implementing new technology (software and hardware) challenging. 

These challenges are possibly due to both not having adequate basic IT infrastructure and not being compatible with existing technologies that run in their organization.

To have a deeper overview of the top challenges identified by healthcare executives and c-suite decision makers, download our free ebook now. 

What can be done to help you overcome these challenges?

While the healthcare leaders we contacted outlined their challenges, they also offered their unique insights on how to solve them. Let’s take a closer look at their responses.

Solution 1: Explore the unknown

While it is tempting to use tried and tested courses of action, innovation lends itself to a different way of thinking and different ways of doing things. This includes exploring the ways other industries solve challenges.

Elevating the patient experience is central to being open to more progressive ways of doing things. Global innovation evangelist and 8x best-selling author, Brian Solis, states that, “those innovative organizations that explore ways to improve experiences and deliver new value will, by default, make customers and patients happier and will help your market grow. To do so, you have to look in and also outside of your industry.”

Solution 2: Leverage the power of digitalization

Artificial Intelligence (AI), telehealth, robotics – these are all examples of digital technologies that promise to help alleviate growing resource pressures while maintaining a high quality of care for patients.

To make the transition into digitalization easier for you and your employees, responders to the survey suggested that a robust and customizable IT-Data infrastructure be in place that can adjust to changing and unique needs. Sufficient training and inclusive engagement of your organization’s workforce in the development and optimization of these systems are critical factors when it comes to the adoption and adaptation to new digital tools and ways of working. 

Solution 3: Build strong partnerships

As the world experiences a rapid advancement of technologies that are transforming all industry sectors, it becomes evident that the highly developed skills and expertise needed to solve today’s challenges are no longer found in just one place. 

Just over half of the executives and c-suite decision makers agreed that collaboration with consultancy companies as well as non-healthcare and technology companies is an enabling force in organizational transformation. 

New partners and alliances can lead to better care, greater efficiency and new revenue streams. 

In 2019, MobiHealthNews reported on 53 new acquisitions totalling about $81.6 million and revolved around themes such as telemedicine, remote patient monitoring and medical education.

Solution 4: Embrace positive cultural change

Change is extremely disruptive, especially during challenging times. The key to navigating organizational change lies in cultivating and nurturing a shift of mindset within the organization that welcomes change and embraces it. 

Real world learnings highlighted by Shawn Achor’s work with Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, US, shows that leaders play a critical role as they must do more than communicate the vision. They must role model the change and be presently involved in the training and engage in corporate communication. 

A holistic approach is the best approach

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What’s apparent from the research findings is that the biggest challenges in healthcare are interrelated. This supports a more holistic approach when tackling them to successfully transform healthcare systems.  

It is imperative that innovation, collaboration and the patient experience remain at the heart of transformation strategies and decision making. Together we can pave the path to more effective use of resources and better healthcare worldwide.

For a deeper dive into the survey findings, download our free ebook below:

Healthcare Transformers Insights are expert insights, opinions and strategies aimed at helping healthcare executives deliver improved patient care and financial value across the continuum of care.