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7 Mistakes To Avoid When Implementing Digital Health

HOBA in Industries - Healthcare

If you are a Consultant and in the business of helping your clients transform their organisation and want to do it faster, with less effort then this article is for you.

In this article, we’re going to cover how technology, including – I.O.T (the Internet of Things) is bringing a digital transformation in the healthcare business, enabling personalised medicine, manage chronic diseases more efficiently, plus other benefits, but its not without its problems.

In this article we will cover the 7 mistakes to avoid in implementing your digital health strategy.

Unbeknown to many healthcare providers and patients, IoT (the Internet of Things) is bringing a digital transformation in the healthcare business.

Digital Health, as many call it, is quickly taking over many different healthcare systems around the world.

Through the use of smart devices, gadgets, and powerful data analytics software, the healthcare industry is quickly transforming into a more efficient, inclusive, and successful one.

There are many levels to ‘digital health’.

At its simplest level, digital health looks like this – from conducting remote checkups using video calls, collecting and maintaining electronic health records (EHR), integrating data from wearable devices – delivering healthcare advice through smartphones to doing regular check-ups over a zoom call and getting critical data like heart rate and blood O2 levels from smartwatches; all of this falls under digital health.

The forward-thinking individuals have realized the importance of digital health and this is the reason why it is driving the proverbial “burning platform” for healthcare systems (we discussed the ‘burning platform’ in another post here).

It can open doors to personalized medicine, manage chronic diseases more efficiently, and make patients more involved in their healthcare process and with caregivers without having to visit the clinic or hospital frequently.

Sounds all great so far, so what’s the problem, right? Read on.

The Process of Digital Health Implementation

If you’re in the business of business transformation and either you’ve been called in to lead the client’s transformation, or you what do lead it yourself, and have already decided to pursue your digital health agenda, like the NHS in the UK and Scotland, then you may already be familiar with the approaches for its implementation – whether it be – agile or waterfall or a hybrid of both –‘Wagile’, or ‘water-agile-fall’.

Whichever methodology or process you adopt, the process you follow needs to have the same (or similar) steps:

  1. Dream
  2. Discovery
  3. Design
  4. Develop
  5. Deliver

So, you’ve got the means, and the method, what could possibly go wrong? Read on.. 

Mistakes to Avoid In Implementing Digital Health

Before you get too excited and do what every failed business transformation does (and start at the technology), when you are developing or implementing a digital health program, it always pays off to avoid mistakes that others have made.

Here are the most common mistakes you need to avoid when implementing your digital health agenda.

“It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

1. The Waiting Game

Avoiding revolutionary transformation in any type of business can turn success into failure – for healthcare, it is even more important. The recent pandemic shows us the importance of technology and treating patients remotely. Hospitals and healthcare systems cannot defer upgrading their tech and including digital health into their system.

To get started with the right plan, you have to start with asking the right questions. We covered those questions in a previous post here.

2. Not Following the (right) Process

70% of Business Transformations fail, so it makes no sense to keep applying broken methods that result in failure. The market has moved, and old approaches don’t solve todays problems. You need a new approach.

The traditional business transformation processes are flawed (you can read more about why here). Digital health is a new model, old transformation methods won’t cut it.

Digital health is about getting more data in front of those that need it, in the simplest ways. To make that happen, you need a transformation approach that is matched to that philosophy.

Digital health is about getting more data in front of those that need it, in the simplest ways.

You will go around in circles, with old processes for transformation may not work for you, which is how and why we developed HOBA.

HOBA simplified the complexity of the questions, issues and activities and focuses only on doing the things you need to do (we call Core Business Architecture) for successful transformation using an easy-to-use system. Following the right process will make the difference between a successful transformation and a failed one.

3. Not Sticking to One Methodology

Agile methodology offers flexibility, while waterfall methodology gives you upfront and accurate data, and the hybrid methodology (wagile / water-agile-fall, mentioned above) offers benefits of both; when you have picked one of these for digital health implementation, stick to it and don’t switch in the middle of the implementation as it can have dire consequences.

A word of caution with ‘Agile’. The term ‘agile’ is sadly misused, misunderstood, and means different things to different people. ‘Agile’ for some is an excuse not to do some things – specifically, documentation, and do other things i.e. cut corners.

For the record – Agile is less about a framework, but more about a mindset. I hear the argument, “I have never seen non-technology requirements or systems delivered by agile’, that because you don’t understand agile.

Agile is about ‘iterative, incremental development’. Getting working versions of your product – be it a technology, or business product (i.e. Business Architecture building blocks and blueprints) out in front of the Customer in quick and frequent iterations, to get feedback, to (wait for it)… iterate.  

That said, the planning phase is where the selection of the transformation methodology takes place. The next steps of the transformation and implementation are dependent on it. Once the next phase in transformation begins, switching the methodology, will not end well, for anyone, not least the client.

Agile is less about a framework, but moreabout a mindset.

4. More Technology Isn’t the Solution

Adding technology is an important step in implementing your digital health program but an IT-lead program doesn’t always translate into success. Picture this scenario – adding a lot of gadgets to an existing clinic, that already has its fair share of existing tech only complicates the ‘system’ rather than making it simpler.

Although Stephen Covey famously is quoted “begin with the end in mind”, that was taken out of context or possibly mis-read by technology folk who thought it read “start with the end in mind [technology]”.

The “end” is where you want to end up (successful transformation), where you start however is at the problem(!).

What that means is, despite the pressures from (mostly) Technology stakeholders, evaluate the needs of the business first (i.e. the problem), then determine what the base of the transformation will be and add the IT elements where needed.

All successful business transformations begin with people and process changes, then comes technology. Our business transformation playbook can explain more about where you can get started.

5. Repeating the Same Cycle

If you don’t follow the transformation implementation process, you will be going in circles and not producing any positive results. You can try different pilot projects and have scrum meetings after scrum meetings and still arrive at the same conclusion. This clearly shows that the process being followed isn’t effective.

Break the cycle and adopt a transformative process, with the help of HOBATECH’s business transformation services, we can help break the cycle.

6. Revolution, not a Disruption

Pessimists may feel like implementing a digital health program will disrupt their existing processes, which is the furthest thing from the truth. The revolution of digital health can make existing healthcare procedures more efficient and it can enable caregivers to help patients in a better, holistic and more productive way.

7. Believing its Hype

Many dismiss a trending or popular idea because they chalk it up to ‘hype’, and digital health is no different. Many hospitals think that their existing methodologies are working, and they don’t require this ‘hyped’ transformation.

They do not realize the potential and efficiency of digital health. They also have to be aware of the hype curve for digital health. It has gone past exaggerated expectations and reached a peak of productivity level. Making it apparent that digital health is an ‘adopt now’ process.

The digital health revolution is here to stay, it’s only a matter of time before it is implemented by every medical facility and government health program. The question is whether you do it successfully with the help of a business transformation expert or fail repeatedly at it by trying to adopt it using traditional methods.

HOBATECH Digital Health Transformation Solution

If you want help with your Digital Health transformation, check out our agile transformation program that helps businesses and organisations work smarter instead of working harder. If you want a seamless digital health implementation, consider signing up to lead your transformation with less stress, less cost and time and higher profits.

Thank you for reading this!


Heath Gascoigne

P.S. If you want to join our Business Transformator community of like-minded Business Transformators, join the community on the Business Transformator Facebook Group here.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about business transformation, check out The Business Transformation Playbook here.

For more information, visit https://www.hoba.tech

Heath Gascoigne

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I'm Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients' business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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