Why digital players are forcing change in the healthcare industry

By Rikin Patel

Digital players are shaking up the care management sector, leaving traditional players struggling to compete at least on some levels. According to Kaufman Hall’s 2019 State of Consumerism in Healthcare report, hospital and health system executives feel their industry is being threatened by new entrants that are offering consumer-friendly health services. The changes are coming from sources such as collaborations between the likes of Cigna and Express Scripts, as well as CVS Health/Aetna, and the arrival in healthcare of Amazon.

The competitive challenges come as healthcare and life sciences organizations are also dealing with other massive changes in their industry. The introduction of sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, mobility and the internet of things (IoT) — added to the shift in the way patients and employees want to consume, interact with or create information — is rocking some of the traditional operating models that have been the foundation of this industry.

But change never comes easy. It takes significant experience, culture, methodology, scalability and, above all, patience and confidence. Organizations that decide to take on these changes may very well end up defining the new foundation for the industry. Moreover, those embracing these changes are better placed to respond to the new players. Consider the power of Amazon, for example, which has built its reputation on the advanced digital experience it offers. Indeed, 98 percent of respondents to the Kaufman Hall’s survey say their digital capabilities don’t compare to those offered by Amazon.

Clearly, healthcare organizations need to transform to a new digital business model if they are to compete against the new market entrants. This transformation needs to go beyond simply digitizing workflows based on legacy platforms to thinking about innovation when it comes to patient care. This is precisely what Amazon has done by considering consumers (or patients from a healthcare perspective) in light of their digital experiences.

But how do you know where to start? What if you do not have all of the things needed to embrace this change? Should you just continue to follow and hope your business can survive? How can you become more agile so you can adapt to future change?

Listen and learn

The best advice is to take measured risk. Listen to what patients and staff want. The healthcare and life sciences industry is unique in that every day, the objectives are to heal patients and improve their lives. Clinicians know what information they need to do their job and how they want to interact with that information. They just don’t have the time or technological experience to make it happen. Learning from the input of patients and staff, along with adopting industry best practices and emerging trends, will help drive the workflows in their daily jobs.

Then, when it comes to technology to bring these workflows to life, look to industry technology leaders to lead the way. Technology leaders are driving significant business digital transformations across many industries by using IT to change the shape of the business through advances in strategy, business and operating models, as well as technical capabilities. Just as healthcare and life sciences organizations are focused on life, technology leaders are all about using technology to enable businesses to succeed and grow.

Digital transformation is happening everywhere around the world, and new players with vast experience in digital capabilities have been making bold entries into healthcare. They are providing patients and staff with the digital experience they now demand, such as convenience with appointments and the ability to leverage digital health experiences. To respond to these new challenges and remain competitive, traditional healthcare organizations must adapt their business models and adopt truly patient-centric care.


Rikin Patel is a DXC Technologist with 25 years of diverse experience in Information Technology.  He serves as the Chief Technologist for DXC’s Americas Healthcare & Life Sciences and is a member of the Office of the CTO. Rikin is responsible for building key client relationships, advising senior leadership on technology trends, and providing thought leadership to effectively grow client and DXC business.

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