4 Ways to Get Tech Priorities and Investment Resources to Align

4 Ways to Get Tech Priorities and Investment Resources to Align. A green piggy bank sits on an adding machine keyboard while digital markets analytics display in the background.

Health care executives continue to place a high priority on digital, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics transformation, but 75% lack sufficient resources or planning in this area.

That’s the key finding from a recent McKinsey & Company survey report, which explains that executives’ investment priorities often don’t align with areas they believe could have the most impact.

For example, while 88% of respondents believe AI could have a high potential impact on their organizations, about 20% don’t plan to invest in it in the next two years. The absence of investment in a robust, modern data and analytics platform could delay valuation creation in areas that depend on these capabilities, including efforts to close care gaps, improve timely access for referrals and optimize operating room throughput, the authors state.

Unsurprisingly, budget constraints were cited as one of the top three key obstacles by more than half the respondents (51%) to investing at scale across all digital and AI categories of interest. Challenges with legacy systems were the second most common challenge. Other highly ranked challenges include data quality (33%), tech talent and recruiting (30%) and readiness to adopt and scale new technology (34%).

4 Takeaways from the Survey

Delivering digital value for providers requires investment and new ways of working, according to the report. Here are some ways the authors suggest hospitals and health systems can respond.

1 | Build partnerships.

Joint ventures and alliances may offer a promising avenue to new capabilities, increase speed to market and achieve capital, scale and operational efficiencies.

2 | Move beyond off-the-shelf solutions.

History shows that deploying tech such as electronic health records (EHRs) on top of inefficient processes and clinical workflows doesn’t lead to value. Realizing value from health IT systems will require reimagination and standardization of clinical workflows and care models across organizations.

Optimizing workflows to enable more appropriate delegation, for example, could yield a potential 15% to 30% net time savings over a 12-hour shift. This could help close the nursing workforce gap by as many as 300,000 inpatients nurses, according to a 2023 McKinsey analysis.

3 | Operate differently.

This entails making fundamental changes in structure (flatter, empowered, cross-functional teams), talent (new skill sets and fully dedicated teams) and technology (modular architecture, cloud-based data systems and reduced reliance on the monolithic EHR). With these changes, some health systems have begun to see value within six months. Building a digital culture will help the transformation succeed over time.

4 | Cautiously embrace generative AI.

This technology has the potential to affect everything from continuity of care and clinical operations to contracting and corporate functions. Nevertheless, many executives and patients have concerns about the risks of AI, particularly in relation to patient care and privacy. Managing these risks entails placing business-minded legal and risk-management teams alongside AI and data science teams. Organizations also could implement a well-informed risk-prioritization strategy.

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