What Does Healthcare Disruption Look Like?

Steven Franklin, Product Marketing Manager


The healthcare industry has seen massive change in the past few decades: the transition from paper to EMRs, the emphasis on data-driven decisions, and the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These innovative changes are collectively known as digital transformation, and they’re saving costs and improving health outcomes. This shift/pivot/upheaval is not limited to healthcare.

Across all industries:

  • 60% of companies that have undergone a digital transformation have created new business models.
  • Benefits of disruption and digital transformation are improved operational efficiency (40%), faster time to market (36%), and the ability to meet customer expectations (35%).
  • 44% of companies have already started a digital-first approach, but only 7% of those have fully implemented their digital transformations.

We often hear of innovative companies in healthcare being labeled as “disruptors,” meaning they’re doing something new and different that can have a big impact on the healthcare ecosystem. To be a disruptor, you don’t need to live in Silicon Valley or have a vast stockpile of venture capital funding. Real disruption happens by creatively solving the problems that patients, caregivers, and providers face every day.

Healthcare disruptors:

  • Continually evaluate and optimize both clinical and business practices.
  • Create new experiences and workflows that effectively meet consumer needs.
  • Think about “what is best for the consumer?” instead of “the way it’s always been done.”

Disrupting With Health Education

While most healthcare organizations are not building the latest applications, many can become disruptors in health education for their communities. Disruptors in health education improve health literacy by providing the right education for the right people at the right time.

The right education

The right education means the content is high quality, engaging, and effective in educating about a health topic. High-quality education improves understanding and creates a higher level of health literacy in a targeted population.

Key concepts to creating the right education:

  • Leverage multimedia content. Videos and images often tell a story better than words.
  • Ensure content quality. Trustworthy education is peer-reviewed, evidence-based, and updated regularly.
  • Keep it short, focused, and to the point. Typically, visitors to your page will only read 20% to 28% of the content.

For the right people

Education should not be overly general, rather it should target specific demographics to be effective. This allows you to leverage what’s important to people and share more meaningful patient education.

Key concepts to sharing relevant education:

  • Leverage data about your community to understand health issues and provide education and resources to address those issues.
  • Understand patient demographics and their needs. Patients of different ages or in different stages of care will need different types of content delivered in different ways.
  • Share targeted education for specific conditions. For example, in addition to general diabetes education, provide education that covers prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes specifically.

At the right time

People need health information that’s relevant to them at a certain point of time. For example, if someone is concerned about whether they have a health condition, they need information on signs and symptoms as well as how to schedule an appointment. Information on advanced treatment is not as helpful until after they've been diagnosed.

Key concepts in tailoring health education:

  • Understand the stages of the patient journey for various conditions. These stages might include pre-visit awareness of the condition, contact a health professional, care and diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management.
  • Identify the data needed to assign a stage for each patient and provide education and resources for that particular stage.
  • Provide innovative ways for patients to self-select and navigate to the information they might need.


Tips for Making Your Organization More Disruptive

Look closely at patient needs

Real needs drive innovation and disruption. To understand patient needs, it’s essential to create a system, culture, and strategy for amplifying patient voice. Gathering data from patients and caregivers helps you learn the true story.

Work to remove the “We have always done it this way” mindset

This mindset is often embedded in organizational culture and can be hard to break. Communicating the need for change and having a plan for change management are tools that can help overcome this thinking. Recruit key stakeholders and clinical champions that embrace change and can motivate colleagues to do the same.

Look for innovative partners

You don’t have to build everything in-house. There are many new health technology companies that focus on specific areas of disruption. Once you’ve selected a patient need and area that needs to change, look for partners that can help make the change easier.

Embrace pilot programs and failing fast

Disruption will inevitably have setbacks and things that didn’t work out as planned. Embrace that it’s part of the process and part of innovation. Mitigate risk by creating pilot programs for innovation in small, targeted groups. If successful in a small set, change can then be rolled out to a larger group. If not successful, learn from the failure and adapt the innovation to better succeed in the next iteration.

From small community-based organizations to large multisite organizations to payors, healthcare disruption can advance any organization. Healthwise offers a variety of solutions and partnerships that can provide the education content to make health education a key part of your organizational strategy.