With the New Zealand bubble set to eventually burst, Kiwi healthcare companies are being urged to make moves towards digital transformation in order to catch up to international organisations who continue to be plagued by COVID-19.

Managing Director of Journey Digital, Dane Tatana (left), says healthcare companies in particular, have a unique opportunity to start seriously planning for and making changes in the digital realm as companies around the world face challenges in a pressure-cooker environment.

“When we’ve been talking to our international clients, there is still a lot of pressure – if not more pressure – to get things done and to get them done faster. If Kiwis were smart about it, they’d be getting proactive and developing these things right now.

According to Tatana, while most New Zealand healthcare companies would be aware of the need to adapt and innovate, our geographic location and some aspects of our culture prevent the actual execution of digital transformation.

“In New Zealand, we tend to trail a bit behind in technology adoption when compared to the rest of the world – particularly our larger companies. And, while we are often good at coming up with ideas, the way we actually go about making things happen is very people-oriented.

“We’re also a reasonably isolated market and we don’t have much competitive pressure, especially now as we’re safe in our bubble.”

Some of the digital trends that are making their way onto the healthcare scene include supply-chain technology, teleconsultations, on-demand video, data improvements, and wearable technology, says Tatana – all of which Kiwis could be currently looking at.

“These all enhance patient outcomes, customer retention and engagement, cost of delivery, and probably most significantly – your data capital.”

The move to digital is also crucial, he says, as it allows your business to change tack at any point.

“If your service delivery or your business in general is underpinned by technology, it’s much easier to swap and change things as you go. Digital changes faster than people do, so you’re able to adapt to the external environment much more efficiently.”

One of the barriers that prevents change is the fact that many companies may not know where to start, and the idea of digital transformation can be daunting.

“Labelling it ‘digital transformation’ probably feels very disruptive, difficult, and expensive. Kiwi’s tend to want to steady the ship and remain comfortable, but I think we can afford to get a bit more aggressive on planning for change and growth, especially when many international companies have 3+ year plans.

“My advice is to get some wins on the board by starting small on something – on a key challenge that doesn’t require a big capital spend. Once you’ve gotten a win, get some buy-in from the executive team and the wider company, and then start to create a plan.”

If Kiwi healthcare companies fail to adapt, he warns of the risk of being overtaken by external service providers and suppliers who will come here from somewhere like Australia.

“If you leave it too late, someone else external will come inside our market and compete on price – and they already are.”

For more information: https://www.journey-healthcare.com

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