Digital transformation of medical centers is not a one-time event

The many socio-cultural changes that are taking place around us, are the result of the massive adoption and assimilation of digital technologies in our various aspects of life. From banks to public transportation, from education to food, during our daily lives we encounter more and more systems that are going digital.

But even though it feels that way sometimes, the change is not happening all at once. Digital transformation is a change that is advancing in waves driven by technological advancement and the accessibility of innovations.

The first wave of digitization is associated with the introduction and adoption of what today is considered “mature” technologies, such as management information systems aimed at automating data processing and applied to monitoring and reporting of business performance, telecommunications technologies such as broadband (fixed and mobile) and voice telecommunications (fixed and mobile) which allow the remote access of information.

The second wave of digitization -  entails the diffusion of the Internet and its corresponding platforms (search engines, marketplaces), which enable the networking of enterprises to consumers and enterprises among themselves for purchasing of supplies, and distribution of output.

The third wave of digitization - Which we are experiencing right now - entails the adoption of a range of advanced technologies, such as big data/analytics, Internet of Things, robotics, sensors, and artificial intelligence, and is aimed at enhancing information processing and the quality of decision making, while further automating routine tasks within business enterprises and governments. These technologies are not typically adopted in a stand‐alone fashion but are integrated with the mature technologies characteristic of the first and second waves.

 

Each digitization wave has a specific set of social and economic impacts. Computing, broadband, and mobile telephony networks have been instrumental in relaxing industry scalability constraints, thereby allowing traditional sectors of the economy to grow more rapidly. The alleviation of the resource constraint has led to increased demand for labor in service industries, (e.g., financial services, education, health care, etc.) although it also had a positive effect on manufacturing. Finally, the first wave appears to have had an impact on the growth of household income, and the facilitation of social inclusion (access to information, government services, and entertainment content).

The assimilation of advanced telecommunication systems in medical centers is a real expression of digital transformation. Making specific medical systems smarter, faster and more tentative is a complex and multi-system process. This is a process that, as mentioned, does not happen in a day. The process is built on the experience the medical centers have gained in the past, the way professionals have received and adopted technologies in the past and interpersonal communication.

 

ICU4COVID - Looking ahead while looking at the past and striving to succeed in guiding medical communities through their digital transformation. The CPS4TIC (the advanced digital system at the heart of the ICU4COVID project) is an example of the third wave of digitization. telemedicine cockpit, telemedicine consoles, a connector platform, and smart bedside hubs (including a robotic arm), are just some of the functions that become a crucial part of medical centers through ICU4COVID.

 

The understanding that the installation and implementation of advanced digital systems are part of digital transformation processes is an important understanding. It allows us to see the medical center within its multi-wave and ongoing process. As it also allows us to adapt the assimilation program to the specific point in time, which is experienced differently, in different medical centers in Europe.