Published on the 05/08/2022 | Written by James Campbell
Opinion by James Campbell…
The pandemic has acted as a fierce catalyst for digital transformation — and nowhere is that more evident than in the healthcare industry. This period of uncertainty has sparked experts to look at the future of health; one that is more just, equitable and efficient with the strategic use of technology.
Take New Zealand, for example. Its health system has recently undergone radical reform with the abolition of 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) in favour of a centralised national organisation: Health NZ. This seismic shift is intended to mend the country’s stressed, inequitable and fragmented health system.
As Health Minister Andrew Little said in a recent statement when the changes went into effect: “Today is kinda the first day of the future, but it is just the first day. There is a hell of a lot more to do if we are really going to address some of the longstanding, chronic problems of our health system.
“We will now have, I am confident, a health structure that will enable us to do that, to get consistency and coherence across our health system.” That consistency and coherence he speaks of lies on the other side of intelligent integration. The questions now is, will these changes pave the way for further digital transformation of New Zealand’s healthcare system?
Health, AI and automation
Powerful new technologies like AI and machine learning are already enabling health professionals to do more than they ever could before. These technologies are optimising the entire healthcare and pharma value chain by accelerating breakthrough innovation, delivering better patient care and scaling stronger outcomes across entire organisations.
In fact, according to a recent report from Bain & Company, 80% of physician respondents say they use digital tools more often than they did just three-to-five years ago. They say technology helps them better manage workloads and cited increased caseloads during the pandemic as a key driver.
When automation is tied to these processes, healthcare and pharma organisations become quite literally bionic, unleashing new capabilities and insights to make even better, more accurate decisions. In turn, this enables them to take swift, life-saving actions. Bionic healthcare and pharma companies harness automation at its full power, not to replace humans but to equip them with capabilities that drive productivity and lead to far better outcomes.
Everything from obtaining complete patient information to recommending a personalised medical treatment based on the patient’s information and providing access to clinical trial data across stakeholders, both internally and externally, are processes that can be automated to serve the industry’s dynamic needs.
Health care’s data integration challenges
Despite the benefits of technology for the healthcare industry, it’s estimated that only 56% of healthcare organisations globally are using all of their available data. This means nearly half the industry is missing out — and paying for it.
Here’s some of the many limitations that are costing the healthcare industry approximately $342 billion:
- Lack of a standard data format: Over the years healthcare organisations have accumulated various data formats, some incompatible with systems and other data.
- Holistic approach to data handling is missing: More often than not, the individuals who process a given set of data are not the same people who need and make use of the data. This means important details might be missed in the transition; data ownership can be unclear.
- Misconceptions in data privacy and data sharing: This hinders successful data integration. Some healthcare organisations have incomplete understandings of laws regarding data privacy and confidentiality. Data must be protected from illegal access and tampering, but also shared under specific circumstances. Balancing these two concerns can be tricky.
- Inconsistency of data among applications: One application can address some but not all of the needs of a healthcare organisation. Healthcare organisations are most likely to use several applications to serve their various users. The data in these applications should be consistent to ensure sensible, data-driven insights.
Intelligent integration platforms like SnapLogic help address these issues by providing the tools necessary to connect various cloud, on-premises and hybrid software applications and data sources.
The healthcare companies leading the way
The following companies are delivering the future of health care with intelligent integration and automation. They serve as the benchmark for others, inspiring a revolution across the health landscape.
The mission at leading healthcare provider Magellan Health was clear: deliver innovative products and services that resulted in business outcomes that were 10x greater than competitors by using breakthrough organisational techniques and modern exponential technologies.
With entrenched competitors up to 30 times larger than Magellan, and a diverse and growing customer base that expected exceptional services without cost increases, Magellan’s IT team set out to transform the company’s IT operations and pave the path to the connected enterprise.
Magellan Health enabled enterprise automation, via SnapLogic, at the center of its transformation, tackling five strategic – and ambitious – initiatives: Modernisation, B2B Integration, SaaS Connectivity, Automation and Big Data.
- Automated end-to-end HR processes on employee onboarding, triggering up to 20 automated workflows, provisioning everything from user ID and application access to the procurement of laptops and other equipment and more
- Automated repetitive tasks of its medical pharmacy business that manages prior authorisations of specialty drugs for its members, replacing a source -, time-, code-intensive process with a real-time automated pipeline
- Integrated more than 20 SaaS applications, including Workday, ServiceNow, Okta, and more. Put more than 100 pipelines into production in record time
- Kept IT resources and budgets flat while the company more than doubled revenues
As pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca embarked on new cloud-first initiatives, IT needed to bring numerous apps and data sources together with a globally available, self-service integration platform that could be used by distributed teams with minimal corporate support or intervention. The company needed a comprehensive platform to execute more than 300 integrations in just one year.
To achieve this scale with a lean central IT team, following a “do more with less” principle, AstraZeneca sought out a simple, but powerful integration solution – one that could easily be used by hundreds of staff outside IT who were anything but integration experts. With SnapLogic, AstraZeneca was able to integrate numerous applications, systems and technologies across cloud platforms and its own on-premises investments with impressive scale.
- 100+ integrations completed within six months
- 300+ integrations completed within one year
- 4X faster development and integration of Salesforce
- Self-service integration powers 500+ users across the organisation
The leading biotechnology company Illumina develops and manufactures innovative technologies for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function. The company embarked on its cloud-first journey with the goal of moving more applications to the cloud, including Workday, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Concur and others. Its technology stack included many cloud applications as well as legacy, on-premises applications that were sprawled across the enterprise.
To successfully achieve its cloud-first initiative, the company needed to modernise its legacy integrations. However, its legacy integration tool wasn’t equipped to support integrations for cloud applications. This stalled its cloud strategy. After deploying SnapLogic, Illumina quickly retired its legacy applications and modernised legacy integrations.
- 10X faster in delivering integrations compared to legacy integrations
- Eliminated bottlenecks and pressure from small IT Team
- Optimised confidence in data and analytics, enabling swift decision-making
- Connected applications across departments
Intelligent integration: the superpower of modern health care
Today, patients engage with their healthcare providers across multiple channels. From outpatient and inpatient procedures to virtual check-ups and medicine pickups, patient information is created or updated in multiple systems. While having all of this data available is a step in the right direction; If these systems are not integrated, healthcare providers lack a complete view of each of their patient’s medical conditions, medical history, risk factors and treatments.
Having only a partial view of a patient’s health information limits their potential to provide the best medical care and recommendation for patients at each touch point. What’s more, lack of information could also lead to misdiagnosis or mistreatment that could hinder patient outcomes.
Streamlined medical processes, on the other hand, deliver complete patient information, empowering healthcare providers to offer the right medical care at the right time and moment, optimising the patient outcome. Healthcare providers can transform their care delivery and healthcare programs by increasing efficiency and innovation.
By understanding trends in patient outcomes, providers can improve existing programs or create new ones to bolster their service to patients. Preventive health care and medical diagnosis, for example, can be made more efficient if providers see better results in one type of treatment over another, or if the treatment processes can yield the exact results if performed over a shorter period of time.
Better outcomes in patient care as well as faster, more streamlined research, innovation, greater efficiencies, improved revenues and enhanced staff satisfaction are all on the other side of intelligent integration.
About the Author
James Campbell, Regional Manager, Australia & New Zealand at SnapLogic