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S3 #13: Digital Transformation During COVID-19 With Chris Boyer



Chris Boyer has been in health care for over ten years, working in both hospitals and health systems and leading digital teams. He is currently a consultant who helps organizations navigate their digital transformations. Chris also hosts a podcast called Touchpoint where he speaks about digital patient experience and digital marketing. Let’s take a look at what Chris has to say about digital transformation during COVID-19.


Defining Digital Transformation

The term “digital transformation” is defined by Chris as “using digital [technology] as a way to help improve your organization.” Digital transformation can mean different things on the IT side versus the clinical operations side, but whether your focus is on clinical, operational, marketing, or communication needs, digital technology can help you grow your organization.

What Is It?

Digital technology can be used in many ways to help improve your organization. You can start looking at the four foundational elements you should be analyzing.

  1. Technology – Look at the digital tools you’re using and ensure that you’re using them to improve your procedures.
  2. Data and Analytics – Measure and monitor data to ensure that what you’re doing is working and achieving the results you need.
  3. Processes – Analyze processes to see what can be improved and how to gain more people’s support in your operational endeavours.

People and Culture – Take into account the people and the culture that will be using these tools to ensure they will be a good fit.

Why Do People Need It?

Digital transformation is vital right now for health care organizations to meet the new needs of patients due to COVID-19. Some patients may have been impacted by the virus and are struggling to get their needs met because they aren’t sure how to navigate the system. On the other hand, certain organizations have to ask patients not to enter the health system because all of their efforts have to be shifted to treat COVID-19.

Why Is It Important?

Health care has to find alternate ways to keep things running; for some providers, the only way they can generate revenue is through seeing patients digitally. The opportunity here is that almost all populations have access to digital technology and, therefore, have access to digital health care. To understand digital transformation, it’s important to understand what can hold health companies back.

Inhibitors to Digital Transformation

Many factors hinder digital transformation. If we take telemedicine as an example, there wasn’t an issue of people not utilizing it. The issue is achieving widespread adoption of the tool.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Digital Transformation

The pandemic has increased the need for digital transformation in the health care space. A major inhibitor of telehealth is reimbursements. This can be attributed to our complex health care system, which is built on slim margins. Without the right reimbursement solutions, there has never been a big incentive to launch telemedicine internally.

Now, because of COVID-19, executive orders have addressed reimbursements and released funding around telehealth. These orders have broken down the barriers of how each state handles reimbursements since they are now being reimbursed the same way. In addition, since this funding has been released for telehealth solutions, many people can embrace digital technology solutions.

With the way things were before the pandemic, most people, and even physicians themselves, weren’t actively using telemedicine. Right now, providers have no choice but to utilize digital tools to see their patients.

In this digital transformation era, we’re seeing a shift internally in the behaviors of clinicians and physicians who are now using digital tools to administer care. The use of digital tools in the health care industry is now reinforcing to patients that these are valid solutions to their needs. Let’s take a look at how your company can implement digital transformation.

Implementing Digital Transformation

Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. And when rolled out too fast, it can cause further problems down the road. There is no silver bullet that’s going to solve the issue of rapid digital transformation and, ultimately, you’ll have to reconcile this with the user’s behaviors.

How to Break Down the Problem

Because health systems have been forced to implement digital tools so rapidly in response to a national crisis, it is inevitable that there will be issues that arise down the road. When things calm down, it’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate where your organization is in terms of your digital transformation. You can start collecting data around how tools are being utilized by your current customers in order to make improvements for the future.

A good thing to aim to understand is how your patients are using these tools. This insight will help you discover the best way to solve their problems with telemedicine. You can build a roadmap for a long-term solution by looking at the data, processes, and people involved in the use of these tools. Digital health companies are great at helping organizations with their digital transformation—keep reading to learn how.

How Can Digital Health Companies Help?

Telemedicine is a great example of a health tool that is currently in high demand. Almost every health system has rapidly deployed some type of telehealth tool to serve patients safely. It’s important that you help health systems solve their immediate issues and do it as seamlessly as possible.

Certain digital health tools aren’t meeting the immediate needs of health companies during the pandemic. It’s okay to focus on building relationships with health systems and companies if the tools your business offers aren’t an urgent need right now. You can do this effectively by acknowledging that your prospective customers are busy and taking time to assess what’s essential to them right now.

Your partners and clients that are using your technology may be using it in different ways to help solve the current problems they’re facing. And the way they are using your tool is valuable for you to be aware of for future sales. You can take the insights you’ve collected from current clients to understand how your tools and technology can be applied moving forward. There will be a time again where you can help more companies undergo digital transformation with the knowledge you’ve gained about how your tools are being utilized.

Right now, health systems are having trouble thinking strategically, and they need help solving the problems they’re facing. At some point, they will need help getting back to normal, and you must understand the needs of your customers. The information you gather now about your tools can turn into sales down the road when things become more normal.

Favorite Book

Chris’s favorite book right now is HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen by Jane Sarasohn-Khan. It’s about consumers in health care and the changes that have occurred over the years that have caused a shift in the U.S. health consumer.

Want to Connect with Chris Boyer? Find Him Here:



LinkedIn: Chris Boyer

Twitter: Chris Boyer

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