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DevOps Trends in Healthcare: Digital Transformation (Part 1 of 5)

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For organizations in the healthcare industry, digital transformation is the entry point to scaling and building a modern digital interface to enhance user experiences. Modern consumers have become accustomed to seamless user experiences powered by technology. Healthcare companies that are able to leverage their digital assets to provide positive user experiences differentiate themselves within the crowded market and gain a competitive advantage.

Digital assets include websites, mobile applications, and APIs. DevOps is essential to the digital transformation process and enables organizations to accelerate their digital initiatives by shortening roadmaps and streamlining cumbersome processes.

Identifying Technical Debt

The first step within the digital transformation journey is identifying and understanding technical debt. Technical debt refers to the cost of additional rework caused by prioritizing a more limited technical solution over the more optimal solution. This often occurs due to budgetary, resource, or time constraints. These shortcut solutions become more costly over time and hinder digital innovation initiatives by increasing the risk of failed or delayed product releases, ultimately lengthening the digital roadmap.

Healthcare organizations, particularly larger enterprises that have more complex systems, accumulate large amounts of technical debt. Creating a strategy to reduce technical debt and putting the right solutions in place significantly lowers risk and long-term costs. By shortening the digital roadmap, companies are empowered to innovate with greater agility and increase their speed to market with new digital offerings.

Increased cloud usage within the healthcare industry has helped to lower the amount of technical debt that organizations are beginning their digital transformations with initially. Most organizations have at least a small footprint within the cloud, eliminating some of the legacy IT processes that create technical debt, further empowering digital innovation. As healthcare organizations grow and mature, it is important to continue reducing technical debt and building stronger technical capabilities to further empower innovation.


Organizational Changes Enable Technical Changes

Agility does not occur naturally within healthcare organizations. The vital importance of protecting patient data and maintaining HIPAA compliance creates hesitancy towards changing existing manual processes, particularly within highly-regulated organizations that have complex systems and data integrations. However, a true digital transformation requires organizational changes that take on difficult problems and solve technical blockers, such as technical debt and cumbersome processes.

Security must be prioritized throughout the digital transformation journey in order to automate cumbersome processes safely. Data breeches within the healthcare industry are particularly devastating to organizations due to the sensitive nature of patient data. DevSecOps enables rapid technical innovation while prioritizing security through every step of the project life cycle. Putting the right governance in place and allowing it be validated allows processes to become automated while still protecting confidential patient data.

Healthcare companies are becoming more startup-like with DevSecOps in order to shorten digital roadmaps and innovate with greater agility. These shifting mindsets and behavioral changes within healthcare organizations empower their people to enact sustainable technical changes into tools through automation.

Shifting the Mindset Around Digital

Digital transformations empower organizations to incorporate technology as a capability of the business and integrate with the overall strategy, rather than functioning as a means-to-an-end. Many organizations within the healthcare industry incorrectly view their digital assets as merely an extension of their physical operations or a convenient space to store data. This outdated mindset prevents these organizations from leveraging their data to grow their business and gain a competitive advantage within the market.

Data is a valuable asset that enables healthcare companies to learn more about their customers and ultimately provide them with better experiences. Innovative healthcare companies are turning their valuable data insights about the customer journey into microservices within their websites or customer portals that improve the user experience by providing more relevant services and convenient features.

Through incorporating DevOps, healthcare companies are also shifting the mindset around change. Introducing greater transparency creates an environment that as more accepting of technical change. This enables a greater focus on improving outcomes and experiences versus preserving antiquated processes to keep the status quo.

Paving the Way for Future Innovation

For healthcare organizations, undergoing a digital transformation builds a strong foundation for future technological innovation. Creating a digital interface with modern applications that effectively share data and automate manual processes is the first step in scaling to larger digital initiatives. Digital innovation through DevOps is a powerful differentiator within the competitive healthcare market. Companies that are leveraging technology to improve the customer experience and increase security emerge as industry leaders.

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Sean Wilbur, Senior Solution Architect

DevOps Architect with 10+ years in change & configuration, agile methodologies, build automation, release engineering, infrastructure provisioning, and development best practices. Provide across Perficient around devops practices as well as lead and design solutions for engagements in the IBM, Cloud and DevOps practice.

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