Competitive Advantages of Digital Healthcare

This week we are excited to welcome Megan Janas (aka @TextraHealth) as our guest host. Megan has been a very active and supportive member of the #hcldr community. Megan is an experienced Competitive Intelligence Analyst who has worked for many years in the HealthIT and services industries. She is currently the Director of Competitive Intelligence & Marketing at Textra Healthcare. Megan has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from Arizona State University. She lives in sunny Scottsdale Arizona which means she’ll probably be by the pool when she hosts #hcldr next week.

Please join Megan Janas on Tuesday, July 18th at 8:30pm ET (GMT-4) for her topic – Competitive Advantages of Digital Healthcare.

Blog post by Megan Janas.

An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.

– Jack Welch

In the past, an organization’s ability to move through the innovation and learning cycle faster than their competitors afforded organizations the luxury of competitive advantage. Rinse and repeat these cycles and organizations held sustained competitive advantage. As time has progressed new models and technology have further driven leaders to refine their strategies. With the introduction of digital technologies, competitive advantages will undergo another massive shift. Every industry- including Healthcare- will need to and want to adapt to these changes, because the pursuit of data and the knowledge gained, will change everything we know.

Competitive advantages are no longer just about price, competition and how an organization will navigate a marketplace. Competitive advantages are now found in every department, in each person, and in every resource an organization possesses- right down to the data. Yet, it’s more than just having or owning data that gives a healthcare organization an advantage- It’s what is done with the data. In the coming years, with integrated smart technologies, the information generated from data will be a valuable strategic asset to healthcare organizations. That information will become the center of the organization, directing how it will operate, act, grow, sustain, minimize risk and cost all while providing better and more efficient patient care. Data will ultimately become the competitive advantage.

Before we can usher in this new era of digitally competitive healthcare, we first must break it down. The goal is that digital strategies touch every level of the organization, improving the overall culture while emphasizing better patient care. To achieve this- leadership, teams, communication, vision, planning and long-term goals will be needed to effectively meet patients where they are in the mobile economy.

We no longer go online, we live online.

It is estimated that we look at our mobile phones up to 150 times a day. A recent study by Lee University in Tennessee found that 12% of people would opt to have a broken bone over a broken phone. While extreme, many can relate to feelings of anxiousness when phones cannot be found. The demand for digital products and services are being driven by consumers. Trends suggest we are increasingly nomadic, live more minimally and prefer experiences over things. We care more about efficiency, great experiences and personal attention than ever before. For health organizations to gain competitive advantages with patients, they must adapt to these trends and consumer demands. The reward for connecting digitally with patients is a health system’s opportunity to capture their data. The sooner a healthcare organization engages, the more data is captured, and the more opportunities to learn from patients emerge. The outcome can lead to better patient experiences, efficient care and improved connections.

You may think that you have a good feel for what is going on in your organization, but until you actually pull some data points and take a good hard look at it, you probably don’t know as much as you think.

In some cases, with early adopters, data learning and application is already being accomplished. In North Carolina, at the Wake Forest Baptist Health oncology infusion center, they utilized an analytics tool to assist with patient utilization rates. The goal was to improve patient flow and reduce over capacity. The results were felt throughout the center. The nursing staff has reported feeling less rushed, the pharmacy fills orders more efficiently, delays in patient treatment have been reduced, and overall the center states that the working environment has become more positive. And they have accomplished these things while increasing their patient flow by 10%. That’s just one example of the power of smart data, put to work.

Intelligence is everywhere.

How do health organizations begin incorporating and shifting to digital strategies? This graphic from McKinsey&Company sums up what digital transformations are built upon and the value they create. It also serves a guide to giving a visual representation of where and how to focus. Using this can show teams where their strengths and weakness lie so that they can maximize what they already have and work on areas needing improvement.

Increasingly though, organizations are recognizing that visionary leadership is required to effectively build their digital strategy. The need for CDO’s, Chief Digital Officers, are becoming essential as they work alongside CTO’s and CIO’s. The CDO has a unique set of challenges and opportunities. The leadership skills require knowledge of tech, but they must also be strong in communication, organization, planning, team building and finesse in helping workers to learn new skills while thinking more innovatively. The CDO will also have to replicate these processes across the organization. Time and careful execution, all while maintaining budgets and gaging effectiveness are the CDO’s most pressing responsibilities. But if the focus of ‘data as knowledge” remains in place, the CDO will have begun to accomplish the goals of creating competitive advantage.

What do we do with all that data?

The biggest key for any healthcare company that wants to get closer to their patients, or learn about how to make processes more efficient lies in the data. To get the right solutions, we must have the right data. We must ask the right questions about the data to be lead in the right direction. Teams must look at what data they have available, the size, quality, structure and the capabilities they have run analysis on. Knowing what your data teams have to work with and establishing what is needed is the first step to bridging digital transformation. Analyzing the data for patterns and uncovering new knowledge is the way for health organizations to discover their core competencies, thus creating competitive advantages.

As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the emergence of the digital economy, we will see monumental shifts all but guaranteed to bring healthcare more competitively aligned. Efficiency and consumer demand for better patient care will play a major role in transforming healthcare. But the ultimate shift will occur because of what digital healthcare will produce – Data, Information and Knowledge. With the right leaders, plans, prepared workers and technologies – these competitive advantages will provide strategic gains to digital healthcare – transforming every level of an organization and beyond to the people and patients they serve.

Please join me as I guest-host the weekly #hcldr tweetchat on Tuesday July 18th at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here). We will be discussing the following topics:

  • T1 What are the unique challenges to the widespread adoption of digital tools/digital transformation in healthcare?
  • T2 What can healthcare leaders, clinicians & nurses do to meet patients in the mobile space, where they already are?
  • T3 Would the degree of digital usage/adoption influence your choice in healthcare provider? How important is it relative to other factors?
  • T4 What do you think will be the biggest benefit of the accumulated healthcare data? How will that impact patients, doctors & healthcare leaders?


“Turning Healthcare Big Data into Actionable Clinical Intelligence.”, Jennifer Bresnick, HealthIT Analytics, 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Four Keys to Successful Digital Transformations in Healthcare.”, Sastry Chilukuri and Steve Van Kuiken, McKinsey&Company, April 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Four Fundamentals of Workplace Automation.”, Michael Chui, James Manyika and Mehdi Miremadi, McKinsey&Company, November 2015,, accessed 14 July 2017

“The World’s Most Valuable Resource is No Longer Oil, But Data.”, The Economist, 6 May 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Why Robots Should Inspire Hope, Not Fear.”, Stephan Howeg, World Economic Forum, 21 June 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Better Questions to Ask Your Data Scientists.”, Michael Li, Madina Kassengaliyeva, Raymond Perkins, Harvard Business Review, 26 November 2016,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Digital Health: Gaining a Competitive Advantage.”, Michelle Maskaly,, 21 April 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“The New Class of Digital Leaders.”, Pierre Peladeau, Mathias Herzog, Olaf Acker, strategy + business, 21 June 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

“Everybody Lies; Big Data, New Data and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.”, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, HarperCollins, 2017

“New Study Shows Many Americans Are Addicted to Their Phones.”, Dawn White, ABC, 16 June 2017,, accessed 14 July 2017

Image Credit

Speed 1  – Tobias Moser

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