Defining ‘digital’ (courtesy of Advisory group member Ales Bourek):
Progress is a result of the joint interaction of people, processes, power and tools
The source of “power” has changed only four times in history (manpower, horsepower, steam, electric power). Every new power needed the modification of tools, processes and behaviour of people to improve productivity.
In the last transition from industrial to information society the source of power has not changed, the only thing that has changed is the potential to more efficiently manipulate “objects” we have been able to transform into a digital format. Thus, in some situations we are able to produce “artefacts” not by directly doing this with our hand in the place we are, but perform this digitally by means of an algorithm, and at a distance by means of the electromagnetic field.
This way of working requires:
- digitisation – changing the manipulated (data or information) into the digital format
- digitalisation – use of digital technologies for the production and delivery of a product or service
Digital transformation – of (health) services encompasses the instrumented effort to meaningfully introduce new digital information and communication technologies and corresponding new processes ( related to decentralisation mainly) and stakeholder behaviour into the (health) domain of activity.
All “technologies” can be divided into four categories based on how they complement or augment our natural human capabilities. The first category helps to increase our physical strength or skills (an example may be the needle, surgical instruments or operating robot), the second category broadens, enhances or complements our senses (microscope, compass, medical imaging), the third category consists of technologies that help us to modify nature in order to serve our needs better or to satisfy our desires (contraceptive pills, genetically modified food), and the fourth category consists of technologies that have been classified by Jack Goody (ref.: Goody, Jack & Ian Watt, 1968. The Consequences of Literacy. In Jack Goody (ed) Literacy in Traditional Societies. Cambridge University Press). and Daniel Bell as “intellectual technologies”, comprising tools supporting our mental capacity, helping us to search and sort out information, formulate and voice thoughts, share know-how and knowledge, help us measure and evaluate and help to improve our mental capabilities (typewriter, calculator, library or Internet.
DIGITAL domain (interaction machine-machine, human-machine) – supportive functions
ANALOGUE domain (human-to-human interaction) natural communication, reasoning & decision making, wisdom, trustworthiness, empathy, soft skills area.
Both analogue (human) and digital (machine systems) handling of data and information contribute to health service outputs and strategic goals.