Digital Transformation and Digital Leadership

Article information

Healthc Inform Res. 2019;25(4):350-351
Publication date (electronic) : 2019 October 31
doi :
President of the Board of the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, Porto, Portugal.
Corresponding Author: Henrique Martins. Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, Porto, Portugal. Tel: +351-211-926-530,
Received 2019 October 18; Accepted 2019 October 20.

I. Introduction

Healthcare does not transform itself; it is transformed by us. The people coming to the Biomedical Informatics society are those who wish to make changes. In my opinion, this is what digital leadership is. Through this article, I will share what is happening in the world around us in terms of Biomedical Informatics.

In the realm of biomedical informatics, a country can initiate a project on a trial basis, finding ways to establish harmony between electronic health records and genomics, etc. However, the country might lag behind in other issues in the field, which is not uncommon.

When it comes to big data, it is clear why leadership is the key. We can see that leadership is important when it comes to big data as it is a popular topic that is currently being discussed everywhere. If you look over the ideas carefully, you will come to see that they center on vision. For example, when you consider licensing a software, if you do not have a vision for what software you want 10 years from now, you might create a licensing scheme that actually freezes developments, or you may make the software compliant but not necessarily flexible.

You may have questions regarding the real implications of digital healthcare. You may have thought that digital healthcare is similar to fiction. However, that is not the case; the pictorial aspect is just a part of digital healthcare.

II. Digital Leadership

Sometimes I think that civil movement and civil society are the keys to the success of IT adoption. Even though you may not consider this idea as a fact or even as a problem, it is actually a stepping stone for us. Digital leadership is not limited to clinicians or individuals involved in its technicalities only. Most people understand biomedical informatics at a surface level, and do not go beyond the literal meaning of the term.

Digital leadership is about all of us. It is about the people who work in organizations and want to make changes happen. In fact, it is very easy to become a chief information officer; this is because there is a shortage of leaders in the field. Hospitals need doctors, nurses, and technicians who can help with hospital IT projects. In reality, there is no one who stands up for the mission.

Leadership also includes support from colleagues. At the core of this support lies group level confidence, through which you can gain considerable support from a group of doctors and nurses.

III. Digitally Enabled World

There is a cultural shift nowadays. The more digitally attuned a person is, the more relevant s/he is to the system. Many people seem to be comfortable with new robots and artificial intelligence. Digital businesses will flourish, and digital transformation will continue without pause. Virtual reality and augmented reality will become more and more prevalent in surgical rooms, classrooms, and teaching facilities.

Leaders should understand that the most important thing to do is to design effective policies. What matters is not the amount of money but effective decision making regarding the expenditure of this money. We can buy robots, but there is insufficient money for expenditure on what is really important in robotics. Thus, we have decided to limit ourselves to be fairly specific in implementing robotics solutions in the real world.

We need to focus on enhancing elements that help us foster development. The core characteristics of development are small and fast improvements. Initial failure is common; one must not try to aim for perfection in the beginning, but rather should keep repeating the process.

Therefore, I propose to you another attractive idea; that is, the idea of ambidexterity in organizations. Ambidexterity is the capacity to use both hands. An ambidextrous organization is one that performs well in both innovative and conservative aspects. You do not want to put your patients at risk by abruptly adopting a new IT product. You want software that has been well tested and is very robust. For this, you need to have knowledge of both that a software and the innovative technology involved.

IV. Living with a Digital Mind

Influential futuristic people are the ones who want to make changes. Such people are rare. It is relatively easier to find someone who does not want to change the world. I urge you to be inspired with every moment. Even during your lunch-time conversations, initiate discussions with people who are eager to change the system. Spending time with people who do not believe in digital transformation can sometimes be discouraging. They will say, “Oh, that can't be done. That's not possible.” However, you do not have to agree with their idea. Spend your time with early adopters and an early majority. Make sure your friends are with you because you need their help and energy to make change happen. Thus, we need to have a digital mind to face the swiftly changing digital world.

I wish all the KOSMI members the best of luck.

Article information Continued