We partnered with Canam Research to explore trends associated with digital transformation of Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability (EHS&S) programs in hospitals. We wanted to know where EHS&S stands with regard to digital transformation, the effectiveness of current systems for managing EHS&S data, which elements of EHS&S are most challenging, and which are most important for healthcare facilities.
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From the C-level, VP-level, Directors, and Managers who work for hospitals and healthcare facilities across the United States and Canada, we were pleased to see that the majority of them (90%) include EHS&S as part of their digital transformation initiatives. However, the research also showed many obstacles healthcare organizations would need to overcome to truly feel the breadth of positive impacts digital transformation can provide to their EHS&S goals. In this post, we’ll explore the main takeaways from the report, along with potential solutions for the common obstacles the healthcare industry faces with digital transformation.
The Role of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation allows organizations to streamline processes, automate workflows, and accurately track, manage, and report on data by leveraging cloud-based solutions. Depending on the industry and application, digital transformation can be implemented in many ways and for a variety of purposes.
In the case of EHS&S, the goal is to leverage technology to reduce data silos, increase employee safety, increase transparency with sustainability initiatives, and much more. While the research from this report with Canam shows that most healthcare organizations recognize the benefit of digital transformation in EHS&S – and approximately 56% of them use software of some kind – there’s still a long way to go in adoption, application, and optimization of cloud-based EHS&S solutions.
The healthcare industry can leverage digital transformation to optimize compliance, protect their workforce, and improve organizational efficiency – which we see from the report are all priorities for the survey respondents.
How Data is Currently Managed at Healthcare Organizations
While the research found that most organizations leverage third-party systems (32%) or in-house software (24%) to track EHS&S data, nearly half still rely on siloed data collection techniques. According to the healthcare professionals we surveyed, 10% still use paper forms, 20% use spreadsheets, and 14% use a combination of software and spreadsheets. There’s a massive opportunity here to increase collaboration, data reliability, data hygiene, and employee engagement through cloud-based software solutions at healthcare organizations.
Leveraging cloud-based EHS&S software can empower organizations to go beyond regulatory compliance – streamlining processes, centralizing data, and ensuring the workforce performs at max productivity.
Common Challenges Faced by the Healthcare Industry
Before we discuss the digital transformation challenges faced by the healthcare industry related to EHS&S, we first need to understand the general EHS&S challenges they face. Of the healthcare professionals surveyed, 58% state that inefficient processes is the main challenge for managing their EHS&S program. Workforce engagement/accountability (44%) and compliance regulations (40%) are also stated as significant barriers to EHS&S program success.
Like any industry, digital transformation for EHS&S takes time, funding, change management, and leadership buy-in. According to the survey, the most significant challenges for the healthcare industry are an administrative burden, access to data, and the ability to report on data effectively.
EHS&S Goals of the Healthcare Industry
It’s no surprise that employee health and safety are top priorities in the healthcare industry. In fact, 68% of survey respondents stated that the intersection of employee occupational health and safety is the highest priority for digital transformation. Whether it’s engaging employees, reducing risk, or increasing compliance, there’s a pattern in the goal of managing employee actions to improve worker safety.
Although employee health and safety were clearly the top concern for healthcare professionals, other topics such as environmental compliance, risk management, sustainability, ergonomics, and industrial hygiene are still notable topics of importance for those surveyed.
The Future of Hospitals and EHS&S Digital Transformation
The report with Canam shows us that 58% of survey respondents indicated that inefficient processes are the biggest challenge for their organization, and 44% indicated that lack of workforce engagement is a challenge. These frustrations are common for organizations relying on outdated systems and on-premise solutions.
Investing in a cloud-based EHS&S solution for digital transformation is the future for healthcare facilities. It will help these organizations assess, measure, and mitigate risk; ensure enterprise-wide compliance; provide practitioners with secure and accurate tools to streamline and automate processes; support a better-performing workplace; and lower costs.