Digital transformation will play a huge role in solving the problem, but the clinician voice is critical
Health organisations can seize on digital transformation to clear the obstacles from clinicians’ days.
“Digital is seen as a cost centre, not a value centre,” said Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of OpenEHR, who has worked extensively in creating digital clinical programs for England’s National Health Service (NHS) and elsewhere. “We really need to reframe it as being the operating model that allows more productivity while keeping our clinicians a lot happier in the work.”
In EY interviews, clinicians say they see value in some digital tools that have been introduced, especially in voice dictation software and tools that allow them to view images, scans or medical records remotely. However, they disliked siloed apps and platforms that require them to log in multiple times per patient and they asked for better surfacing of the information they need from the Electronic Health Record (EHR). Still wary and frustrated by EHRs that have them lost in multiple click drop-down boxes, clinicians were more sceptical about the role of technology in changing the care delivery model than executives.
The costs of not pursuing digital strategies that will help attract and retain clinicians is high as well, with the consequences of burnout including costly turnover, increased medico-legal risk and financial costs. Loss of workforce supply is significant, given the costs of training with government contributing more than $320 million in 2020 to support tuition and clinical training costs through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme and individual’s bearing substantial personal study and tuition cost burden as well.1
Dunscombe says health systems need to familiarise clinicians with the technology and free them to create the experience that is right for them. Another challenge to unleashing the power of health data is “the lack of tooling for the clinicians to actually interrogate the data,” she said. “One of the most powerful things we can do is allow the clinicians to understand the population.”
None of the clinicians interviewed by EY said they had access to analytic insights on their patients. Clinicians even expressed frustration with swimming in too much data at times, not being able to find what they need. In fact, a recent report by The World Bank estimated that some countries use less than 5% of health care data to improve health.2