The digitisation of healthcare systems and processes is more than simply replacing paper with computers. Done well, it presents the opportunity to transform the way health services are delivered; quality, safety and patient outcomes are improved; and patient and clinician experiences are enhanced. But the digital transformation road is long, winding, and full of unexpected obstacles.
Transforming health service delivery models, structures, roles, and business/clinical processes really does indeed take a village and early, lasting and strong leadership will make or break digital health transformations because transformation is about people, behaviours, and relationships.
Digital health transformations are notoriously difficult. They often take longer, cost more, are messier and can deliver fewer benefits than planned. Sometimes they fail completely and can ruin or damage reputations and public confidence.
Of late, ‘Reform’ has become an Executive Tourette-like utterance in the Australian healthcare sector. However, the nature of the reform, the specific goals and benefits, the risks, and how success will be measured is often poorly described or absent.
Serving on a public healthcare board is an honour and a privilege. It is also an enormous responsibility and challenge. I have worked with many healthcare boards and have found that great boards understand the particular challenges of public sector healthcare services and are successful across seven dimensions.