Health Providers, Experience

Overcoming Digital Transformation Hurdles

MERGE breaks down key issues hindering digital transformation progress in healthcare organizations, offers essential pillars for change management success, and perspective on how to integrate patient and employee experience seamlessly.

BY: Joo Serk Lee | Chief Architect

PUBLISHED: 4/1/2024

Digital transformation, now more than ever before, plays a pivotal role in enhancing patient and employee experience. The reality, however, is that over 70% of these transformations fail, leading to wasted resources and expenditure. 

For healthcare providers, the stakes are high. Successful digital transformation can streamline operations, improve patient outcomes, and boost employee productivity and morale. On the flip side, failure can lead to financial losses, compromised patient access and care as well as caregiver turnover.

So how exactly do digital transformations fail? The reasons can be multifactorial, but often center around these seven issues:

- Lack of Partnership: Failure can stem from a gap in collaboration between the Experience and Technology teams responsible for driving the transformation. This lack of partnership leads to disjointed efforts and misaligned goals.
- Insufficient Foundation: Organizations frequently attempt to accelerate their digital transformation without first establishing a strong, scalable foundation. This rush results in a lack of agility and speed when they are most needed.
- Internal Misalignment: A disconnect within organizations, particularly when business leaders push for growth without fully understanding or supporting the technological groundwork required by their tech partners. This scenario often results in complex, unsustainable solutions.
- Poor Experience Design: A significant number of organizations do not invest adequately in designing user experiences. This oversight can lead to high abandonment rates, as evidenced by the 70% of e-commerce transactions that are not completed due to unsatisfactory UX.
- Siloed Operations: The absence of collaboration and the prevalence of working in silos prevent the seamless integration of technology and business goals, further hampering digital transformation efforts.
- Unclear Roadmap: Without a clear, cohesive strategy and roadmap, digital transformation initiatives lack direction and focus, making it difficult to achieve intended outcomes.
- Lack of Defined Metrics: Many businesses fail to set and track digital transformation metrics or KPIs, making it challenging to measure success and justify the investment in digital initiatives.

The need for a strong partnership between Experience and Technology teams, internal alignment, clear roadmaps, and measurable results are no doubt key to successful digital transformation. But just as crucial is the establishment of a cohesive change management plan and the integration of both the patient and employee experience. 

Change management is not simply about introducing new systems or processes; it's about transforming the way an organization thinks, operates, and delivers value to its stakeholders. It involves navigating the complexities that exist between people, processes, and technology. 

Addressing the following core pillars can serve as a crucial first step to ensure that the change management process within your healthcare organization is successful:

- The Imperative to Change: Recognizing that change is not an option but a necessity for sustainable growth.
- Necessity and Alignment: Demonstrating how the change aligns with and supports the organization's core objectives, such as improving care, advancing education, and pioneering research.
- Collective Benefits: Highlighting the positive impact and growth opportunities the change offers to stakeholders, thereby fostering a shared vision.
- Support and Empowerment: Expressing the organization’s commitment to providing the necessary resources, training, and support to help stakeholders navigate the change effectively.
- Communication and Trust: Maintaining trust and confidence through clear, transparent communication and robust project management throughout the engagement.

From here, implementing a comprehensive and methodical training and development program is a recommended next step for organizations leading change management initiatives within their overall digital transformation. This should include:

- A current state assessment
- Defining the agenda and objectives
- Establishing standards and governance
- An approach to programming and execution
- Continuous learning and iteration

In healthcare marketing, the digital experience is becoming just as critical as the in-office experience. Embracing the entire digital ecosystem as part of the patient and employee experience is rapidly becoming a vital strategic imperative as healthcare delivery organizations accelerate transformation and preparation for the future. 

Self-service models of care will drive the increased need for highly personalized experiences, especially within the authenticated experiences. As healthcare evolves to meet the staggering needs of an aging population with a limited care provider population, the intersection of the patient, provider, and caregiver experience has the potential to improve health outcomes and provider effectiveness in new and different ways.



1. How do healthcare organizations measure the success of digital transformation initiatives beyond the initial implementation phase?


Measuring the success of digital transformation initiatives in healthcare organizations extends beyond the initial rollout to include long-term sustainability, user adoption rates, and improvements in patient outcomes. Success metrics often involve a blend of quantitative data, such as reduced operational costs, increased efficiency, and enhanced patient satisfaction scores, alongside qualitative feedback from both healthcare professionals and patients regarding the usability and effectiveness of new digital tools.


2. What specific strategies have proven effective in fostering a strong partnership between Experience and Technology teams within healthcare providers?


Fostering a strong partnership between Experience and Technology teams within healthcare providers revolves around clear communication, shared objectives, and mutual respect for each team's expertise. Strategies that have proven effective include regular cross-functional meetings, joint planning sessions, and collaborative workshops aimed at aligning technological capabilities with patient and provider needs. Embedding members from each team into the other's projects can also promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of their respective challenges and contributions.


3. What does success look like for healthcare organizations that have overcome digital transformation hurdles?


Success stories of healthcare organizations overcoming digital transformation hurdles typically involve comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategies, phased technology rollouts to ensure smooth adoption, and ongoing training programs. Successfully organizations often prioritize patient-centered design, leveraging feedback loops to refine digital solutions continually. By addressing both the technical and human elements of digital transformation, these healthcare providers have been able to enhance care delivery, improve patient experiences, and achieve operational efficiencies.


*Kellie Bliss, MERGE EVP, Client Service also contributed to this article


For organizations looking to upgrade their digital experience, there are a variety of ways to get started! To help build alignment on the need for change, MERGE can support you with an “outside in” look at your digital experience and how it stacks up to both patient expectations and category leaders. For more, please reach out to us