Healthcare is in an era of 'hyper-innovation' as executives look to ramp up digital tech: survey

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In total, innovations during the pandemic produced an estimated $678 billion boost in revenue around the world. (Getty Images)

Businesses around the world have entered an “era of hyper-innovation,” according to Citrix Systems—and the healthcare industry is accelerating into the future at an especially rapid pace.

When Citrix surveyed (PDF) 1,200 business leaders across six different industries, healthcare ranked near the top of the industries adopting new technologies and work models.

Among the healthcare leaders surveyed, 92% say their businesses adopted new ways of working and processes during the pandemic, and 82% said they’re using new tech tools and infrastructure.

Across industries, the businesses that created successful collaborative environments during the pandemic also saw more innovation, including in healthcare. Other those surveyed, 58% of healthcare leaders reported that collaboration within their businesses increased during the pandemic, and 72% reported that innovation increased during the pandemic.

Other industries like financial services saw far lower stats, with 36% reporting more collaboration and 48% reporting more innovation during the pandemic.

In total, these innovations produced an estimated $678 billion boost in revenue around the world across the industries surveyed. Almost 9 in 10 leaders surveyed said the rollout of new work tools has vastly improved interactions between individuals and teams in their business, and 80% expected their organization to enter a phase of hyper-innovation in the next year.

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Tim Minahan, executive vice president of business strategy at Citrix, told Fierce Healthcare that the pandemic helped dissolve some of the taboos with remote work that previously held businesses back.

“They had touched on the edges, but certainly the pandemic threw them into a massive acceleration,” he said.

With such rapid change comes some inevitable consequences, though. Minahan notes that healthcare organizations in particular were forced to spend a lot of money in a short time to adapt to remote patient care.

“They had to make a lot of investment out of necessity, and already in a margin-sensitive business, a lot of healthcare service providers are under a lot of pressure right now on cost,” he said.

Transitioning to an all-digital system can pose security risks, too, especially in healthcare, where patient records with a slew of the individual’s personal information can be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

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According to a recent Ponemon Institute report, 70% or more of healthcare organizations reported a longer length of stay or delays in procedures following ransomware attacks, which ultimately led to poor outcomes.

“The biggest single challenge is the larger and larger your digital footprint, the greater risk you are of your personal information being exposed,” Minahan said.

But the era of hyper-innovation has just begun, and Minahan said businesses don’t want to go back.

“If the first phase through the pandemic was to figure out, 'how do we sustain the business, how do we survive,' now that those new workplace models and patient engagement strategies are in place, they’re saying, 'hey, we can now begin to truly innovate on those models,'” he said.