With digital technologies witnessing a massive and widespread adoption by the healthcare industry, everyone is in the race towards accomplishing the “smart hospital” tag.

Deloitte expects global healthcare spending to rise at a CAGR of 5% – from now until 2023.

However, transforming into a smart hospital is easier said than done. Smart healthcare is not just about implementing a handful of IoT devices – it is about a cultural change that is needed across the healthcare organization. A change that is led by leaders and C-suite executives and trickles right down to the care providers – including doctors, technicians, and other hospital staff.

What hospitals need to do

With smart healthcare completely transforming the way care is delivered, it is natural for hospitals, big and small, to embrace every process and technological innovation possible to become “smart”. However, the real value from smart healthcare can be extracted only when hospitals set foot in the right direction. From CXOs sharing their vision to leaders fostering greater collaboration to drive change – there’s a lot that hospitals need to do to maximize returns from their smart hospital investments.

Here’s how hospitals can prepare their leadership for smart healthcare:

CXOs need to share their Smart Hospital vision to gain team support

One of the fundamental reasons why healthcare organizations struggle with lackluster care outcomes is because the critical patient and clinical data reside in disparate systems.  For smart healthcare, CXOs need to share their smart hospital vision; a vision that paves the way for technology and process improvement while overcoming the challenge of manual coordination and poor workflow efficiency. CXOs need to develop strategies to enable secure data access and create greater efficiencies in business and clinical processes.

They need to voice their vision and share how smart healthcare will provide the organization with numerous opportunities to improve quality (and safety) of patient care, reduce inefficiencies and wastage, and enable advanced management and administration of the hospital environment. They need to make teams understand how – through smart healthcare – digital information can be seamlessly exchanged, so clinical decisions can inform business decisions, and vice versa.

Leaders need to work towards getting the whole organization aligned with the new digital culture

The success of any smart hospital depends largely on the ability of the organization to build (and sustain) a digital culture. Although implementing modern enterprise systems and smart devices is a good start, success can be achieved only when leaders work towards getting the whole organization aligned with the new digital culture. This means developing digital capabilities in a way that the organization’s processes, people, and culture are in sync with short as well as long-term goals.

Leaders need to redefine the way value is created and delivered. They need to take efforts towards driving agility and collaboration and improving their risk-taking ability. In addition to updating technology and redesigning products, they need to align the smart hospital vision with employee values and behaviors. Such a comprehensive and collaborative approach can help the organization quickly and seamlessly transition towards understanding, embracing, and advancing smart healthcare adoption.

Hospitals need to foster greater collaboration and communication within the team

On the outside, becoming a smart hospital might seem like a one-time project that involves the strategy and implementation of advanced IT technologies. But the truth is – smart healthcare is a holistic, deeply embedded, enterprise-wide undertaking that is continuous. An ongoing process requires communication and collaboration not just between leaders, but also between staff and management. Such ongoing and open communication can help in ensuring potential problems are detected rapidly, and potential solutions are quickly rolled out.

Hospitals that drive efforts in fostering greater communication and collaboration within the team are more likely to gain the reputation of sustained care quality improvement while constantly identifying and overcoming everyday healthcare challenges. After all, it is only through frequent and continuous collaboration that leaders can develop new programs, staff can improve and optimize care delivery, and management can reduce care costs.

Hospitals need to invest heavily in training and education of the existing workforce to help them make the most from the smart technologies

For an industry that has been rather slow to embrace technological innovations, training, and educating the existing workforce on how they can make the best use of smart technologies is extremely critical. Since smart healthcare offers a sundry list of capabilities that hospitals can benefit from – including better data management, more efficient diagnoses and treatment, and reduced costs – it is vital that leaders invest heavily in training the workforce and achieve maximum ROI from their digital investments.

Preparing the healthcare organization for smart healthcare requires medical personnel to be educated on the need for embracing smart technologies and the benefits that they can accrue from using smart technology. In addition, they need to be trained on how best to use smart systems and devices, so they can boost day-to-day productivity, reduce the chances (and impact) of medical errors, enhance the way care is delivered, and improve the overall patient experience.

Is your leadership ready for the smart healthcare transformation?