There is a great deal said about the major transformation of healthcare through digitalization. When describing this transformation, however, it quickly turns into odds and ends. An electronic patient record here, a digital medication process there. It then dawns on most of those involved - from the head of IT to the doctor right up to those responsible in the organization—that the actual transformation is a completely different ballpark
Because it does not involve systems or interfaces but instead a realignment of the care paths. New networks, new partnerships, new markets, and not least of all, new approaches. The German Hospital Future Act with its eleven funding objects already provides the general direction. Products are only funded indirectly with the focus firmly on process changes. Some of the funding objects cannot even seriously be developed by one company alone. Thinking in established department, company, and product categories suddenly no longer works here.
Even tackling coronavirus clearly, and in some cases painfully, revealed the limits of traditional structures in medicine. In just a short time, it was vitally important for many people to bundle competencies that had previously had very little in the way of overlap. The exchange between research and applied medicine could no longer be a project needing many years but instead had to take place in real time at best. The exchange of information between authorities, laboratories, and hospitals jumped into focus.
Of drivers and the driven
The Hospital Future Act as a politically motivated project and the pandemic as a natural catastrophe are two of the important drivers of the transformation. There are other drivers which, when considered separately, have little effective power in themselves but when combined turn a snowball into an avalanche. This includes, for example, economists in medicine who think that patient CDs have become too expensive. Or a dedicated medical profession that wants to alleviate suffering and make diagnoses faster. And of course the many masterminds in universities and businesses that are pushing the boundaries of technical progress are an important driver.
But the question remains: who actually makes the change? It currently appears as though this ambitious major project should be managed entirely by those responsible for IT in healthcare facilities. They are required to connect to the telematics infrastructure, avoid future penalties due to the implementation of funding objects, or even increase patient loyalty through improved communication. No wonder that CIOs feel like the driven within the overall transformation process.
Taking responsibility: the role of the company
It is clear that IT users alone cannot manage these major changes. They are ultimately dependent on the products and thus on the innovation and development potential of the IT companies. Whether the digital transformation in healthcare succeeds depends enormously on the actions of software companies. But the framework conditions, the potential customer base, the range of services, and above all the speed of the development process are also changing for them. IT companies that want to actively shape the transformation and have a genuine interest in offering their customer base future-proof solutions must closely examine these solutions and their consequences as well as themselves. In the case of VISUS, this self-reflection led to the realization that the quality, success, and the solid collaboration with customers achieved over the last 20 years can only be maintained in the long term with a strong partnership. And CompuGroup Medical is that strong partner.
Benefit from potentiated knowledge
For a medium-sized enterprise like VISUS, it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with the diverse range of issues in healthcare IT—from imaging data management to cloud services to patient communication solutions—let alone to reflect this in products. As part of networked medicine, however, it is essential to keep the overall market in mind and to remain reactive. And speaking of reactive: contrary to popular belief and the fear of some customers, VISUS will not become sluggish as a result of joining CGM, instead it will become more agile. Suddenly we have not just the knowledge of 200 clever minds available but that of a good 7,000. With this growth in expertise comes the opportunity for more specialization. This means, for example, that it is no longer necessary for all employees to come to grips with all the details of the Hospital Future Act but instead just a few are needed who can then share their knowledge across the group. This saves an enormous amount of time that can be dedicated instead to customers. And they expect this, after all, because, as described above, they are themselves under enormous pressure.
In terms of innovation, VISUS can also pick up the pace thanks to the merger. There will be more sparring partners available in future who will tackle projects with greater engagement than external partners would. After all, everyone is pulling on the same strand here. In future, there will be more horsepower hitting the streets than VISUS would have been able to realize alone. At the same time, VISUS can continue to concentrate at the Bochum site on its core business, the development of interoperable solutions for consolidating and distributing medical information. Without the new partnership, this dependability for the customer base would probably have become increasingly difficult to realize over the coming years.
Another important knowledge advantage when working with a group is going beyond the particular national markets. Although VISUS is active with partners in many countries internationally, its presence abroad and the associated benefits for further development of its own products was limited due to the size of the company. Another factor that can be problematic for a medium-sized enterprise in the long run. It is no secret that other countries are often a few steps ahead of us in matters of digitalization. Companies that have a presence in as many markets as possible therefore learn a great deal very early on about specific requirements and can incorporate this information during product development. To the benefit of the local customer base. This has been demonstrated by the good network built with the market in the Netherlands, which enabled VISUS to develop products such as the Healthcare Content Management so soon and so practically. The many companies in the CGM universe now potentially open the doors to important new markets for VISUS and thus to the knowledge of international concepts of success.
Lastly, the partnership with CGM provides VISUS with the potential to remain a reliable, strong, and innovative partner for its customers throughout this major transformation. And all from its Bochum site. As VISUS and with exactly the values that made VISUS a success in the past.