Remember when you had to call your provider’s office to schedule an appointment to get a flu shot? Now, you can schedule one on the website of your local pharmacy. Want the best plastic surgeon, but she’s based halfway around the world? It’s not a problem as she remotely operates the robot that performs the cuts and stitching. 

These are just a couple of examples of the digital transformation in healthcare. Today, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of digital transformation, along with five technologies we feel have the most impact on today’s patient care. 

What Is Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Digital transformation uses digital technologies to modify business processes, culture, and customer experiences. Involved technologies range from hospital medical computers to multi-billion dollar firms’ cloud storage

Customer experience is essential, no matter the industry. Companies can use digital technology to re-examine meeting customer wants and needs, whether the customer is a patient or movie-goer.

Digital transformation usually breaks down into four main areas:

  • Process Transformation aims to bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to a company’s traditional operations. An example is replacing paper patient files with electronic medical records (EMR).
  • Business Model Transformation looks to transform traditional operations. Netflix radically upended DVD sales and later cable with its streaming services, which is an example of this form of transformation. 
  • Domain Transformation redefines a business’s products and services in new ways. Example: Amazon shifted from selling books online to cloud services to multi-billion dollar industries.
  • Cultural/Organizational Digital Transformation upends companies’ standard business practices. Employees working remotely and collaborating online are upturning the traditional in-office workplace. 

Like other industries, healthcare has been impacted by digital transformation. Digital transformation for healthcare revolves around connecting digital devices and how they transform modern medicine’s standards and processes. Unsurprisingly, much of this digital transformation journey involves patient care. 

  • Replacing patient files with EMR is a form of process transformation in healthcare. Another example is patient kiosks and portals, which are websites for patients to check in for appointments, schedule them, or pay a medical bill. 
  • Technologies allowing Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) can be seen as Business Model Transformation. Providers and staff can keep track of several patients without them coming in for periodic checkups. This dramatically expands the provider’s patient panel without loss of care. 
  • Retail health clinics, urgent care centers, and even pharmacies as alternatives for non-emergency care can be viewed as Domain Transformation. Patients have more choices in treating their health needs, while off-site providers keep quality high by reviewing and approving on-site medical staff’s work via telemedicine. 
  • Cultural/Organizational Digital Transformation is coming to healthcare thanks to AI-generative ChatGPT and the performance of surgeries remotely via robotics. 

Why Digital Transformation Is Important for Healthcare

For business, the root of any change starts with customers. This is as true for the healthcare sector as it is in any typical customer-facing business like retail. 

At the same time, many medical groups and hospitals face increasing pressure to improve patient experiences while controlling costs. The sector is also highly regulated and constantly scrutinized as it deals with people’s lives. 

Healthcare organizations, from medical clinics to hospitals, are turning to digital technology to meet the above goals and more.

Enhances various processes

Appointment scheduling, patient record management, medical information, and billing can be generated more quickly, accurately and conveniently through technologies like EMR software and medical tablets

Enables sharing of medical data

Healthcare professionals can access patient records and test results quickly and easily. This is due to digital innovations like 24/7 cloud and edge computing that allow them to collaborate in real time and deal with complicated medical cases and surgeries. 

Greater access to healthcare services and facilities

Digital technology allows greater patient and provider access to each other. For example, patients have more options and access to care by scheduling appointments online via a patient portal. Those in rural and out-of-way places can interact with a provider remotely via video. 

Healthcare groups are beginning to experiment with increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) to process patient requests and even triage simple medical cases. 

Increases productivity

RPM allows medical staff to monitor patients’ health even when not physically there. Multiple patients can be followed in this manner without loss of quality care. This doesn’t just mean patients in their homes, nursing facilities, hospices, and other off-site locations. 

Remote patient sitters can watch dozens or more hospital patients via video, freeing nurses to concentrate on more pressing duties. 

Other ways digital transformation is impacting healthcare systems:  

  • Using predictive analytics to estimate ward admission numbers and the percentage of nurses estimated to be absent in a particular period.
  • Customizing patient medications via an on-site 3-D printer. 
  • Implementing AI software that listens during a provider-patient interview and later generates a SOAP note for the patient’s EMR. 

Common Challenges

As any IT person will tell you, technology brings challenges and benefits. Healthcare is no exception, with several challenges – and solutions – unique to the industry:

  • Patient safety. Digital transformation means an increase in the use of electronics. Medical devices and equipment near or on patients should be certified medical grade to work without risk to their well-being. 
  • Data privacy & cybersecurity. EMRs fetch high prices and are sought by the criminal element. Patient data is also highly protected per HIPAA. Medical groups must increase cybersecurity as digital transformation can increase the possibility of a costly breach.  
  • Legacy application. Healthcare extensively uses legacy applications, which are equipment no longer supported by their manufacturers. Digital technologies must work with these applications, as many are too costly or essential to be replaced. Medical box PCs with COM ports are an example of a digital device compatible with legacy apps.
  • Continuous operation. Hospitals run 24/7, and all digital equipment must function similarly without fail. Hospital IT should seek medical-grade computers with fanless design, rugged features, and a low failure rate to meet such high standards.
  • Interoperability. Medical offices and hospitals run everything from legacy hardware and software (e.g., Windows XP) to cutting-edge medical technologies. They must be able to work with each other. The previously mentioned medical computer with COM ports can bring this to reality, connecting the devices to “speak” with each other. 
  • Data silos. Medical groups are highly protective of their patient data and may use EMR systems that may not be compatible when patients change health insurance. Third-party companies can help bridge this incompatibility

Technology Spearheading the Big Transformation in Healthcare

What are some of the technologies driving digital transformation in healthcare? There are easily dozens and more, each worthy of its own blog post. Here are five that showcase the benefits of digital transformation.


Telemedicine (and its subset, telehealth) connects patients with their providers remotely via video and in real-time. In addition, the technology helps those with difficulty traveling to see their providers. Elderly, hospice patients and those who suffer extreme mobility issues are examples of such patients. 

Telemedicine can also protect both parties from highly contagious diseases, as shown during the 2020 pandemic. Other uses range from providers consulting with experts worldwide to teaching off-site medical students. 

Artificial intelligence

Healthcare generates enormous amounts of data: patient vitals, EMRs, hospital supplies, etc. AI is being explored to handle that data and more. Reducing errors from gathered data and improving patient care are just a few examples of AI’s capabilities. 

Others range from automating simple yet vital tasks like monitoring networks for cyberattacks to developing new drugs and diagnostic tools. AI’s potential for digital transformation is enormous. 

Precision medicine

Precision medicine targets specific diseases. Digital technologies can be used to decode their genome, and cutting-edge technology like gene editing can create treatments. This allows providers to improve patient outcomes while treating even the most complex diseases. 

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

This Internet of Things (IoT) subset links numerous medical devices and applications through various online healthcare networks. IoMT allows real-time health monitoring and care of patients, especially with chronic conditions that must be closely watched. 

RPM, smart hospital rooms, and fitness-tracking wearables and apps are just a few examples of IoMT. 


Robotics in healthcare range from robots assisting surgeons in complex and delicate procedures to helping patients with disabilities. This form of digital healthcare can result in better patient outcomes as it lifts obstacles from medical staff.

Charting the Digital Path to a Healthier Future with Cybernet 

Digital transformation in healthcare leverages modern electronics and networks to bring change throughout the healthcare sector. Technologies involved range from converting patients’ paper records to electronic ones to using AI to guide patients in resolving simple medical issues.

Are you interested in learning what digital transformation is in healthcare and how it’ll impact your medical group? Contact an expert here at Cybernet for more info. We’ll be happy to review how many technologies involve our medical-grade computers and their many benefits.

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