Jan Wemmel

Jan Wemmel

Vice-President, Global Industry Lead, Health & Life Sciences

Globally, healthcare systems face serious challenges. Costs and demands are rising, while capacity is declining as workforce burnout and stress take their toll.

One way to avoid drastic responses that limit services or shift significant costs to patients is to increase efficiency and capacity through more responsive, connected digital systems, data and infrastructure. Such improvements also enable more attractive experiences for both practitioners and patients, and greater access and equity for patients.

How digital leaders overcome digital and data challenges

While 92% of healthcare executives in CGI's Voice of Our Clients research say their organizations have digital strategies in place, just 23% feel they are achieving expected results. This compares to a 30% average across all industries.  Our research reveals several common attributes among the health organizations that are producing results from digital strategies—who we refer to as the “digital leaders.” These attributes include:

  • Fewer challenges with legacy systems: While just 14% of digital leaders say their legacy systems hinder digital progress, 63% of executives at health organizations still building or launching a digital strategy (digital aspirants) cite this as a top barrier.
  • Greater business and IT alignment: 60% of digital leaders say their business and IT operations are highly aligned to support their strategy, compared to 23% for digital aspirants.
  • Higher business model agility: 31% of digital leaders say their business model is highly agile to address digitization, including technology integration, compared to just 4% for digital aspirants.

Based on these and other insights, we recommend five actions to help health leaders advance digital and data capabilities to better manage industry challenges:

  1. Re-evaluate your digital strategy to modernize legacy systems and improve the quality of data.
  2. Align business and IT operations to accelerate your strategy and priorities.
  3. Increase automation use and sophistication to aid in process improvement.
  4. Invest to attract and retain IT talent to address the impacts of changing social demographics and digital acceleration.
  5. Extend the scope of your digital strategy to include your external ecosystem and value chain.

Connecting data ecosystems to strengthen health and care

When it comes to our fifth recommendation, we recognize that healthcare systems and data environments are complex. Hospitals are a good example in that most represent collections of data islands or mini-data ecosystems. While they may have connected their own data, systems, and medical equipment within their boundaries, this data often is siloed from the extended ecosystems that support the patient journey. In such cases, practitioners can readily access a patient’s X-ray within the hospital or mini-ecosystem, but sharing that diagnostic image with external practitioners or electronic health records (EHRs) is much more difficult.

Given these challenges, how can healthcare organizations develop more responsive, interconnected systems and processes and make trustworthy data available at the right place and time along the patient journey? Here are several foundational principles to consider:

  • Take a patient-centric view of data. Ensuring data trustworthiness and high data quality along the entire patient journey requires a patient-centered approach. For example, the central repository of patient and treatment-related (EHR) is controlled by the patient, enabling them to manage their individual healthcare journeys. Additionally, trusted digital infrastructures are key to overcoming connectivity issues and delivering the trustworthy data necessary for treatment. 
  • Approach interoperability holistically. Interoperability is the foundation of digitally connected and enabled healthcare. A platform-enabled ecosystem provides data exchange and translation based on international standards and secure digital identities. However, strategies must address people and process as well as technology, and include a coordinated change management effort.
  • Connect the data islands and mini ecosystems in your control. An integrated ecosystem that respects individual privacy and securely collects information from multiple sources is critical to unlocking the power of data to increase access to care and improve outcomes. Although many organizations have digital repositories like EHR systems, often these are disconnected from the wider ecosystem of organizations that are part of the patient journey. Start by connecting the data islands you control. Then go beyond organizational boundaries to connect with other health and care organizations to establish a shared understanding of bottlenecks and discuss the pragmatic use of standards for secure interoperability.

I invite you to read more on these topics in blogs by two of my colleagues: “Reimagining hospitals: How to create people-centered facilities through digitalization” by Francis D’Silva in Norway, and “Three strategies for health data interoperability success” by Brad Schoffstall in the U.S.

Please get in touch with me to learn how we can help you accelerate your digital and data strategies for connected healthcare.


About this author

Jan Wemmel

Jan Wemmel

Vice-President, Global Industry Lead, Health & Life Sciences

As the Global Industry Lead, Jan is responsible for developing and executing market strategy and business development for the health and life sciences industries.