How Digital is Spain’s Healthcare Industry?

Amelia Hernandez

11 January 2016

According to a recent study of the State of Digital Transformation in Spain by Good Rebels, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, and with the support of Brandwatch and Informatica, the Spanish health industry was proven to be one of the most digitally advanced sectors in the country.

Approximately 1,000 companies from 12 sectors were surveyed, 69% of which have indicated that their organizations have realized or are in the process of implementing a project related to Digital Transformation or Digitization. And, in the health-sector, 83% of the companies surveyed have completed or are in the process of undergoing a project related to digital transformation, well above the average. This elevated participation is second only to the performance of the Finance sector, with 84%.

leaders digital transformation

From the smallest to the largest companies (in terms of revenue), there is a consistent commitment to digital transformation. Interestingly, only 50% of health-related companies earning between 10 and 50 million euros in revenue acknowledge undergoing a Digital Transformation project; whereas, within the top and bottom half (i.e. those that earn less than 10 million euros and more than 50 million euros in revenue) there is a 100% rate of digital transformation projects.

digital commitment

How do we explain this distribution? Smaller companies are likely to have emerged buoyed by new tech-related tools and services, as leaner, technology-based organizations; larger companies, on the other hand, are better prepared to dedicate a significant amount of resources to R&D, which today is synonymous with digital/technological advancement. It is striking to note that mid-sized companies show a lesser commitment to incorporating new digitalization processes into their organizations, wherein 50% lack awareness of such initiatives, demonstrating what may represent flawed communication within the different departments.

Across all sectors, in planning for the future, 74% of companies have indicated that in the coming year, more resources will be diverted to undergoing new initiatives related to Digital Transformation; this figure sits below average, at 67%, in the healthcare sector.

The drive to transform is led by senior management (22%), IT Departments (20%) and Marketing/Sales teams (18%) as companies aim to increase their reach and provide more automated services to their clients.

What are the areas that health-related companies invest in?

New technological advancements in science have led to the digitization of this sector, however its digital transformation it is not limited to new techniques in patient care (new treatment and diagnostic tools); the health industry has also embraced digital tools in the areas of Human Resources, Finance and Marketing/Sales.

digital investment

Notably, 75% of health-related organizations are undertaking projects related to Human Resources, highlighting the importance of implementing new tools to help the organization internally. While most enterprises surveyed underscored the importance of investing in internal processes and resources, the Health sector stands out as one of the few actually investing in organizational related projects. 100% of the health-related companies surveyed have implemented an internal collaboration tool, compared to the global average of 58%. Equipping staff with new ways of communicating and sharing information is clearly a top priority in Healthcare Industry.

the most connected employees

In the Healthcare Industry, there is clearly a strong marriage of people and technology as technology is both a vital part of patient care and an organizational priority for this heavily service-based sector. There is however a gap between this high level of digitization and employee perception of the organization’s capacity to undertake its own Digital Transformation. Only 6% of healthcare employees consider their company very prepared for the challenge. On the whole, across all industries, 47% consider their company prepared or very prepared, just below the global average of 56%.

digital capacity


Top Digital Initiatives

Among the top digital initiatives are projects related to Research and Development, Technological Innovation and Logistics. The high percentage of Risk Management projects underway (54% of those surveyed identified a project in this area) correspond to the projects in Finance at 86% of the companies.

top digital initiatives

When compared with other sectors, the Healthcare Industry emerges as more traditional in its management of business, communication and information, with very low levels of initiatives beyond Technology, Logistics, R & D, Supply chain, Risk Management and Corporate Expansion. One reason for this may be that they have already advanced in those areas where “no changes are required,” however the high level of regulation in this sector suggests that this may not be the case.

In conclusion, the Healthcare sector has made great strides in its own Digital Transformation, starting with innovation in technology. An opportunity exists for even broader change in the management (business models), marketing, customer intelligence and communication tools to improve both the client experience and internal processes.

spanish healthcare is digital