“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

These words of perennial wisdom are a compelling reminder that public health is the bedrock for constructing a prosperous economy and nation. This very philosophy beckoned me to the healthcare field as a student and public health professional for the past two decades.

My name is Natalie Schibell, and I recently joined Forrester as a senior analyst covering enterprise health clouds, automation, tech titan disruption, and the new care continuum with particular emphasis on clinician experiences and the future of work in the provider space. I am a healthcare strategist on a mission to help healthcare organizations leverage digital technologies to optimize clinical workflows and improve healthcare outcomes.

Prior to Forrester, I served as a public health analyst at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where I spearheaded the digital transformation and operations coordination for the National Wastewater Surveillance System, a $19 billion data surveillance project mitigating COVID-19. Prior to that, I served 10 years in the US Navy’s Medical Service Corps, leading large-scale multidisciplinary teams as a director of public health and then as a director of operations for healthcare talent acquisition.

$36 Billion Spend, And We’re Only A Fraction Of The Way There

Despite the US government’s $36 billion expenditure on the digitization of medical records, the abundance of siloed data, coupled with the lack of interoperability frameworks, is an unsolved dilemma that continues to cripple workflow efficiency and the implementation of data-driven healthcare. The panacea is the right transformation that optimizes the way data is exchanged, processed, and interpreted between electronic health record (EHR) systems, apps, devices, health clouds, and legacy systems. Not only is data sharing paramount, but standardization with both technical and semantic interoperability frameworks is necessary for the exchange of quality data to drive informed healthcare decisions, enhance provider performance, improve patient safety, reduce physician burnout, and consistently deliver high-quality healthcare.

It’s Time To Build On The Momentum Of Pandemic-Accelerated Digital Transformation

The past year brought unprecedented advancements in EHR systems, data visualization tools for decision support, data quality, and data sharing. For example, data dashboards like the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker became an instrumental tool for communication and driving mitigative action. We have a critical mass of EHR users. Now is the time for HCOs to build on this momentum and propel their digital transformation strategy to the next level. Success for many health systems will rely on the capacity of real-time, EHR-derived data to produce an accurate and dependable, aggregate-level snapshot at the point of care without fail. Is your organization prepared to meet this demand? Find out by following my upcoming research to guide your digital transformation.

Please enjoy this blog, and don’t hesitate to get in touch (especially via briefings and inquiries).