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Healthcare costs continue to increase year on year, putting both private and public sector healthcare organisations under pressure. Now more than ever, it is essential to increase the efficiency of backend and administrative processes to enable improved service provision while optimising costs. Digital transformation is the answer to simplifying and streamlining processes, enhancing operational efficiency while improving patient experiences. However, there remains a significant gap between healthcare and technology which has made the adoption of digital solutions difficult.

The benefits of going digital

Digitalisation in the healthcare sector means moving businesses from the current state of manual-driven operation into a digital landscape. Some areas that are prime candidates for automation include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), record keeping and patient management. For example, rather than maintaining paper-based patient files, digitising this area could provide numerous benefits.

All patient information could become instantly available to all doctors and other medical practitioners who need it, without having to wait for a physical file to be delivered. This improves the patient experience and allows for faster and more accurate diagnosis based on all available information. It also improves efficiency and thus the potential for cost savings is significant. Files no longer run the risk of being misplaced, administrative tasks are made simpler and faster, and fewer staff are required for administrative tasks, freeing up budget for other areas. From a security perspective, digital files with appropriate backup and recovery solutions are also protected from physical disasters such as fire or flood that could be catastrophic in a paper-based environment. There is also the potential for analytics to be applied to patient data to help make better diagnoses and improve outcomes for future patients.

New skills are needed

Managing, supporting and maintaining a digital environment requires a whole new skill set not seen before in the healthcare space. Historically any technology within the healthcare setting has been managed by the IT department, which has always had little to no visibility into actual healthcare. Digital transformation blurs the boundaries and makes it critical to bridging this gap. Everything is cloud-driven and can be delivered as a service. The goal is to create better experiences for patients while improving costs and efficiency. There is a palpable need for IT people who understand the healthcare sector and for healthcare people who understand technology.

Vodacom's Next Generation Health

Healthcare has evolved, and Vodacom Business is at the forefront of this evolution. Partnerships have been leveraged with various healthcare solution providers that enable screening, monitoring and reporting using Connected Health Devices.

Next Generation Health strives to improve the delivery of healthcare by reducing costs and ensuring citizens receive the best care available. All of our health care solutions are easy to use, roll out and remains cost-effective. Our systems are ready to be implemented and deployed which means you are guaranteed to see the benefits immediately. For more info please visit Vodacom Business online today.

- Theresa Ackerman, Manager of Operational Excellence at T-Systems South Africa

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