Timing Digital Investments in Healthcare: When’s the Right Time to Acquire New Tech?
Digital transformation has often been viewed as the magic wand to fix the healthcare system’s cost and efficiency challenges. And, to a great degree, the transformations seem to be highly effective. Digitization boosts performance throughout the healthcare chain, minimizes errors, and facilitates preventive care. Similarly, digital solutions also enable more accurate staffing. And all these can help reduce operating costs.
But, there’s another problem – choosing when to adopt the new technologies.
Why Timing Matters a Lot
The main reason timing is critical in tech investments, especially in the healthcare sector, is that rapid changes in the industry mean that you need to get your tech rollouts spot-on. Otherwise, you risk ending up with obsolete technologies.
An excellent case is technical medical equipment, which you may need to replace every three to five years. These include scanners, MRI machines, and anesthesia machines, among others. While some healthcare technologies last for up to five years or more, others deteriorate within a year. Rushing to embrace new technologies that become obsolete in a matter of months can prove extremely expensive for the business.
EHR solutions are another perfect example. Currently, there are dozens of top-of-the-line EHR software to consider. And investing in one of these top-rated solutions seems like the right idea at the onset. Why? Because the EHR might prove critical to your day-to-day operations. It may advance your facility’s strategies that you hadn’t even thought about before.
On the other hand, the EHR purchase can become the black hole in your organization that ultimately kills your hospital. It could also divert you from your goals, allowing more disciplined competitors to overtake you.
It happens all the time. Everyone wants to be the next Uber, Netflix, or Tesla. But, there are hundreds of documented failures that never get the limelight for every success story in tech innovations.
Falling prey to shiny new technologies, therefore, is strongly discouraged. Moreover, sometimes it’s about the organization not being ready for the step up. Don’t hurry in such circumstances. Sit tight until you’re ready.
Considerations to Get the Timing Right
You’ll always come across those shiny demos and may even get a call from time to time to test a new tech release. The following tips should help you resist the urge to invest in new tech until you’re ready;
Focus on the transformation, not the tool
This is where many people go wrong. Digital technologies are tools designed to help you reach the desired destination. So, your priority isn’t getting the best tool but reaching your transformation goals.
Take an example of a hospital that seeks to improve efficiency in its operations. The first step this hospital needs to do is to identify underperforming areas. Which parts of the chain are inefficient, and what makes them ineffective? Once you answer these two questions, it becomes much easier to find solutions.
Look at technologies as tools, not the solution
They are often called tech solutions. But technologies aren’t themselves the solution to problems you may have in your system. Instead, they are a tool to help you solve the puzzle.
For example, if you have issues communicating with home-based patients, the solution is to find platforms to help you reach them better. In this case, AI chatbots would be an excellent tool.
Once you begin to view technologies as tools, you get to see the need to evaluate each piece of tech, including its strengths and potential weaknesses. It also allows you to choose solutions based on their range of capabilities rather than age.
Choose the right vendor
In tech consumption, the vendor is just as important as the technology. With specific regard to timing, two things are essential. First, you need to avoid buzzwords. Words such as “disruptive,” “cloud,” and “revolutionary” are thrown around very often during software releases.
Don’t immediately fall for vendors that repeat these words shamelessly. Mature vendors are guarded and tend to be less aggressive in their marketing.
Secondly, it’s always better to go with reliable vendors whose products can pass the test of time. If you must wait for your go-to vendor to bring a similar product to the market – so be it.
Never jump in head first
The most transformative technologies take a while and may require multiple iterations to prove their value. Keep this in mind when considering tech investments. Leaping too fast can lead to a “death by ants,” as some people put it. You won’t die from a single bite. But thousands of bites may kill you. You’re likely to blunder flat out, potentially creating real damages.
So, first, dip your toe to test the waters. Then take another step or two and reassess. Put simply, implement smaller changes first, see if they deliver the desired results, and then roll out further changes step-by-step until you’re set.
Remember that transformation is an ongoing task
This should be your biggest takeaway. With digital transformations, you’re never really done. As mentioned at the beginning, new tech solutions enter the market every single day. You must continuously review your existing systems to uncover areas for improvement.
Build a team to monitor your system against your goals to determine room for growth. Additionally, keep tabs on the market to catch even greater solutions.
Time to Act
There’s no single right time to implement a digital transformation in healthcare. Indeed, every time is always a good time to improve. What’s more important is proactively identifying gaps in your system and promptly filling them with proven solutions.
If you’re unsure where to begin when it comes to taking care of your digital investment, fear not – we’ve got you covered! NIX Solutions helps small businesses evaluate and source cutting-edge tech solutions. Get in touch today.