Digital innovation will drive healthcare’s seismic shift toward patient-centered care

If providers don't adopt digital technology, Silicon Valley will make a run at transforming the industry.

Hundreds of years ago, a Polish astronomer sparked a scientific revolution with one simple observation: The sun—not the earth—was the center of the universe.

A similar revolution is happening in healthcare, where the industry is shifting the center of its universe from the physician to the patient, and some say digital innovation will be the driving force behind that monumental transformation.

Making that transition to patient-centered care requires systematic changes, a group of physicians and researchers wrote in an op-ed for MedCity News. The industry must “redesign its core processes,” and in order to do that, hospital systems need to embrace digital technology that gives patients more access to their health information and easy access to clinicians.

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The authors note that some healthcare leaders, like Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, M.D., have embraced this challenge, but many are still resisting the digital revolution. Soon, those organizations may feel the market pressure from outsiders looking to force that paradigm shift.

“With the writing on the wall, it’s time for those in the healthcare industry to follow the Mayo Clinic’s lead and ask:  What is our digital transformation strategy?” the authors wrote. “Healthcare is the largest private-sector industry—accounting for 13% of the total United States workforce and 18% of the Gross Domestic Product, and if it doesn’t transform itself soon, Silicon Valley is waiting to enter the market and bring a new, more customer-friendly experience.”

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Those that have advocated for integrating digital tools in an effort to give more control to patients have said hospitals are uniquely positioned to facilitate a technological revolution. Others have pushed for a broader focus on patient engagement to successfully integrate mhealth tools.