Digital Transformation of Health (2)



Habits of Highly Productive Transformation Leaders
Prof. Lere Baale, FPSN, FPCPharm, FNAPharm, FNIM

The critical need for the digital transformation of health is driven by the growing challenges facing healthcare systems worldwide, including rising healthcare costs, ageing populations, the increasing burden of chronic diseases, gaps in healthcare access, and emerging global health threats. Digital technologies offer opportunities to overcome these challenges by improving healthcare efficiency, effectiveness, and quality, while expanding access to healthcare services, promoting preventive care, and empowering individuals to take charge of their health and well-being.

Essential skills for the digital health of the future

As the digital health industry continues transforming healthcare delivery, professionals in this field must possess a specific skill set to navigate the evolving landscape effectively. Here are some essential skills for the future of the digital health industry:


  1. Technology literacy and digital fluency: Digital health professionals must be proficient in technology and possess a deep understanding of digital health solutions, such as electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine platforms, remote monitoring tools, wearable devices, and health apps. They must stay updated on emerging technologies and innovations in the digital health space.


  1. Data analysis and interoperability: The ability to analyse and interpret health data is vital in the digital health industry. Professionals should have data analytics, data science skills, and the ability to work with diverse data sources. Understanding interoperability standards and ensuring the secure and seamless exchange of patient data is crucial for optimising healthcare outcomes.
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  1. Privacy and security: Given the sensitive nature of health data, professionals must possess knowledge of privacy regulations, cybersecurity practices, and data protection. They should understand the legal and ethical considerations surrounding collecting, storing, and sharing health information.


  1. Clinical knowledge and healthcare domain expertise: A strong foundation in clinical knowledge and expertise is essential to understanding the complexities of healthcare systems, medical terminology, disease management, and treatment protocols. This knowledge enables digital health professionals to design and develop effective digital solutions tailored to specific healthcare scenarios.


  1. User experience design: Developing user-centred digital health solutions requires user experience (UX) design skills. Professionals must be able to design intuitive, accessible, and user-friendly interfaces that meet the needs and preferences of patients, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. UX research, prototyping, and usability testing are essential to this skill.
Habits of Highly Productive Transformation Leaders


  1. Regulatory compliance: As the digital health industry operates within a regulatory framework, professionals should possess knowledge of regulatory requirements and compliance standards. Proficiency in navigating regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is crucial to ensure the protection of patient data and adherence to privacy regulations.


  1. Collaboration and interdisciplinary teamwork: Digital health initiatives often involve collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including clinicians, researchers, developers, and administrators. Professionals must possess strong collaboration and teamwork skills to effectively work with multidisciplinary teams and leverage collective expertise for successful digital health projects.


  1. Health policy and health economics: Understanding health policy and healthcare economics benefits digital health professionals, as it helps them navigate the complex healthcare landscape and align their solutions with policy frameworks and reimbursement models.


  1. Ethical and social implications of digital health: Digital health professionals should be aware of the ethical considerations, cultural sensitivities, and social implications of using technology in healthcare. This includes understanding issues related to equity, access, privacy, algorithmic bias, and digital divide, to ensure responsible and equitable digital health implementation.
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  1. Lifelong learning and adaptability: The digital health industry evolves rapidly, with new technologies, regulations, and best practices emerging frequently. Professionals must have a growth mindset and be committed to continuous learning. Staying updated with the latest developments through conferences, training programmes, and professional networks will enable them to adapt and succeed in this dynamic field.

By developing and honing these essential skills, professionals in the digital health industry can drive innovation, improve patient outcomes, and contribute to the transformation of healthcare delivery.

Way forward

To harness the full potential of digital transformation in health and realise the goals of the UN SDG on Health, a coordinated effort is needed from all stakeholders to address the challenges, maximise the benefits, promote digital literacy, align government policies, foster partnerships and collaborations, anticipate future trends, develop a robust framework, and prioritise the continuous evolution of digital health practices.

By working together towards a shared vision of transformative health, we can build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable healthcare system that improves health outcomes, enhances patient experiences, and advances the well-being of individuals and communities worldwide.


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