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Technology implementation, A CHALLENGE OF THE HEALTH SECTOR

The recent history of health technology implementations has not been easy. Certain challenges and lessons learned have been observed in different health systems around the world, but to what can we attribute the resistance to digital transformation with significant investments? What should the sector consider for the strategies to give the expected results?

In examining different cases locally and internationally, perhaps the most important lesson of all is that digital transformation is not about replacing analog systems or processes with digital ones; but rather that the technologies are designed with great care so that the interaction between service providers and patients is much easier, with a significant investment in the design of the tools and the redesign of the processes.

A trend that has been observed in different cases is the great expectation of technology, with an initial period of frustration and reduced productivity. The benefits can be seen to materialize in a period of two years; however, this important change that goes hand in hand with various transformation strategies is often modified or even abandoned at times.

By examining the failures in technology implementations in the healthcare industry that deviate from success stories, we have identified seven great lessons [1] for realizing the benefits of digital strategies:

  1. Transformation This comes from new ways of doing work, not from the technology itself. Organizations require a transformation program supported by technology, not the other way around. This is a fundamental lesson.

  2. Human factor (people) As digital systems become the target of criticism in a change program, an area of ​​opportunity is the training and preparation of people. To cope with these issues, organizations need to invest in organizational development.

  3. System design It is required to focus on specialization for the design of technological systems. The lack of alignment of one or more of these factors explains a significant part of the failures in implementations in recent years. Achieving alignment requires significant staff involvement and dedicated effort to achieve it.

  4. Investment in data analysis Improving productivity requires an extensive redesign of work processes, the use of predictive models to distribute resources, anticipate demand, early intervention, and the ability to learn and adapt. None of this is accomplished without analytical skills, either given or acquired by the organization. Successful vendors have made significant investments to develop their own data analysis and software capabilities.

  5. Multiple interactions and continuous learning Technology implementation is a process of continuous change, in which there may be several cycles, some difficult before the systems reach the point where the investment begins to generate results.

  6. Interoperability support There are a number of things that organizations can do to support interoperability. First, while configuring electronic health records (ECEs ) for productivity, and sector-salud-01-ch.jpg over configuration can inhibit data sharing, especially when it is used by multiple network users. Second, although there is no consensus on whether a system is better than a multisystem, it is important to make sure that the benefits of both have been evaluated.

  7. Strong governance policies and data security processes Various healthcare providers have suffered cyberattacks in recent years, and not all are prepared for it. Strong corporate governance policies are essential to ensure the confidentiality of patient information.

Mexico does not escape this reality: on the one hand, we have service providers that have implemented some technological changes in their infrastructure with mixed results, mainly in the private health sector. As well mentioned, the success stories that can be taken as an example practically repeated or were based on the points mentioned above. Those who, on the contrary, had a not-so-successful experience, or even abandoned the change processes, did not consider all the necessary elements.

In the case of the public sector, a similar speed is not seen, since the dynamics and priorities are different. However, investment has been made in modifying information systems to improve operating processes. State health institutions have made significant investments in infrastructure; generally speaking, taking the experiences of others to improve implementation processes is an area of ​​opportunity for them.

The implementation of technology is a challenge for the health sector and it will be essential to follow the steps indicated so that it is useful to adopt new tools and thus be able to generate greater efficiency in processes, the productivity of services, and improve the experience of patients.

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