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Health Tech Trends Series 2021: Digital maturity satisfaction in focus

For our HTN Health Tech Trends Series 2021, supported by InterSystems, we sent out a survey to you – our audience – asking readers to respond to a series of questions around digital maturity satisfaction levels, the best technology your organisations have adopted and how close you are to working in a paper-free environment. Over the next few weeks expect to see our analysis through a series of articles.

We were bowled over by the response –  as around 250 health tech professionals took part, raising £506 with their replies, which we will donate to NHS Charities Together. The survey was open for just two weeks, allowing us time to gather insights into those reader responses.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at digital maturity satisfaction trends – based on the data from the NHS professionals, who completed the survey.

We asked participants to rate how satisfied they were with the health tech maturity of their organisation across 10 separate and distinct areas: interoperability and sharing information, providing access on any device, user-friendly software, ease to log in to systems, seamless integration of patient records, hardware, digitising paper processes, internet, access to data, use of data to inform decision making.

On the topical subject of data, our findings show that just over half of respondents – 50.99% – were either satisfied or very satisfied with their access to data. The trend in this field continued, 49.51% said the same about their organisation’s use of data to inform decision making, while a further 27.23% felt neutral about it.

Comparing to our survey data from 2019, using the same questions, it was interesting to compare and explore any changes. Two years ago, 39.62% were either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of access to data, while 36.54% of people were happy with their organisation’s use of data – signposting that this has been a potential area of improvement since then.

Results show that the areas our audience think still need the most improvement in are integration of patient records and digitising paper processes – with 42.29% and 36.45% of respondents ‘dissatisfied’ with the level of digital maturity of their organisation in these areas, respectively.

In 2019, integration of patient records was also the area that scored highest for dissatisfaction, with 48.08% of respondents. This represents a change of 5.79% over two years.

As for digitising paper processes – despite the huge undertaking reported by many trusts to move away from paper during the pandemic – our findings didn’t show the shift in maturity satisfaction that may have been expected. Responses stayed largely the same, with 34.48% of professionals asked either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of maturity in 2021, and 36.45% either dissatisfied or somewhat dissatisfied. In 2019, these numbers were 33.97% and 39.63%, respectively.

This was despite, when being asked if their organisation was now paper-free, from the responses in 2021, 44.28% said they were working in an organisation that was largely paper-based. While 24.38% said they were working in an organisation that was 80-100% paper-free.

The most positively rated area for digital maturity in our 2021 survey focused on the internet and online access, which received 14.85 % very satisfied and 51.98% satisfied responses. This was followed in second place by a positive change to ‘ease of logging into systems’, which recorded 55.45% satisfied, increasing from 42.59% in 2019.

According to our results, the levels of maturity their organisations provided into access from any device, 50% were satisfied, and having user-friendly software available, a similar score, 50.49% were satisfied.

Over the next few weeks the Health Tech Trends Series will continue with a series of articles, surveys, focus groups and analysis to focus on topical areas in the industry.