Article Abstract

Engagement leading to empowerment—digital innovation strategies for patient care continuity

Authors: Mohan Tanniru

Abstract

Background: Over the last two decades, digital transformations, i.e., business transformations using advanced technologies, have extended business reach into the customer decision-making process, enabling firms to support two major types of customer services: empowerment services prior to purchase and engagement services during and post-purchase. Service organizations such as health care, by virtue of their intense engagement with patients during in-patient care, have a unique opportunity to extend this engagement with these patients’ post-discharge to best tailor digital transformation strategies to address continuity of care, and potentially help empower patients to manage their health condition.
Methods: Deductive reasoning was used to assess the focus of digital transformations over the last two decades on value creation through services. These include awareness and decision support services prior to the purchase of a product/service (pooled together as “empowerment” services), and purchase and “use” services that occur during and post-purchase (pooled together as “engagement” services). Four healthcare case studies were studied in-depth to inductively identify factors that are shown to have an influence on continuity of patient care outside the hospital.
Results: The factors shown to have influence include the degree of support patients have from their network of family, friends, and other resources (referred to as the ecosystem) and the complexity of their own health condition. Recognizing these factors can help a hospital tailor its digital transformation strategy by allowing multiple actors to support a hospital’s engagement with patients’ post-discharge. These actors, both clinical and non-clinical care providers, may help extend a patient’s self-efficacy to manage their own health condition (i.e., empower the healthcare consumer).
Conclusions: Understanding factors influencing the patient ecosystem and engaging support groups in patient engagement post-discharge is consistent with prior research that argued for connecting social and clinical diagnosis, if continuity of patient care is the goal. Such a recognition can help tailor digital transformation strategies to address select care needs of the patient population. Future research may use digital transformation goals in patient engagement and empowerment to a healthcare organization’s readiness as patient demographics and expectations change.