The Digital Healthcare Professional

What do we know about the needs and roles of digital healthcare professionals today and how can we apply this to practice?

What are the needs of the healthcare professionals in relation to digital technology?


In order to succeed with the digital development of the healthcare sector, it is important to focus on the healthcare professionals and their digital competencies. This had been done in a study including almost 500 healthcare professionals and managers across Europe. Here are the results.

The DELIVER project assessed the digital competency level as well as perceptions on digital competencies among healthcare professionals and managers across Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Denmark. The study included almost 80 qualitative interviews and almost 500 survey responses from healthcare professionals and managers.

The assessment found that in order to improve the digital competencies of healthcare professionals and enabling them to feel competent and be able to work efficiently in a more digitalized healthcare sector, the following is required:

  • Better training and abilities to practice.
  • Focus on mind-set related to digital technology.

Better training and abilities to practice

Inadequate training due to lack of time and resources is seen as one of the biggest challenges when it comes to the implementation of digital technology in the healthcare sector.

There is a demand for training of:

  • Competencies of how to use existing digital tools
  • Communication on digital platforms
  • Technological understanding
  • Troubleshooting
  • Competencies to train colleagues and citizens (patients) in using digital solutions

Further, the study shows a need for more reflection on the value of digital technology and awareness of ones shortcomings.

Focus on mind-set

Many healthcare professionals fear technology and are reluctant to replace face-to-face contact with citizens (patients) with digital technology.

A focus on changing attitudes and ways of thinking about digital technology towards more open-mindedness, interest, curiosity, patience and courage is seen as very important.

Source / References

“Employees must dare to embark on digital technology. If you have the will and the interest you will acquire the necessary competencies.” (Denmark)

New roles and responsibilities as healthcare professional


A paradigm shift is taking place in our quest to adapt to new digital technology and changed expectations and needs from citizens (patients). Healthcare professionals must be aware of new roles and responsibilities.

The Communicator

Due to people living longer with chronic diseases and hospitals under gradually more pressure, even more citizens (patients) are expected to be treated by the health sectors in close collaborating. Thus, a need arises for general improvement of cooperation through the use of digital communication. This applies to communication between healthcare sectors, communication between the hospital wards as well as with citizens (patients) and their relatives.

The Cooperator, Coordinator

The competencies of a healthcare professional to manage various digital systems and maintain an overview by means of digital technology are required. Due to an increase in the number of citizens (patients) with multi-diseases and associated health problems, we see an elevated complexity in handling the needs of the citizens’ (patients‘) while keeping their overall life situation in perspective.

The Health Coach

Based on technological development citizens (patients) will often know more than doctors about their illness, have better data, join networks with others with the same illness, etc. The technology thus affects the relationship between citizen (patient) and healthcare professional as well as the power structure. Instead of acting as a healthcare expert, an increasing need occurs for support of the citizen (patient) through dialogue, where the citizen (patient) is guided through the ‘information jungle’ focusing on the individual needs and his/her overall life situation.

The most frail citizens (patients), who may easily get left behind due to the changing digital development, require special attention.

The Leader, administrator, organizer

There is a continuous need for leaders who can inspire and facilitate the changes. Leaders who keep focus on how new digital solutions can improve the services and quality of health care and who have the skills and will to motivate and inspire colleagues and employees to participate in the organizational changes that follow when new solutions and technologies are implemented.

The Health Expert and Academic

The health professional expert must be able to apply knowledge based on the highest international research within their own field of expertise. This requires skills to seek out, navigate and adapt new knowledge rather than simply being the bearer of it. The professional expert should be able to use technological tools and assess when the technology is relevant for the individual patient and which non-technical skills are necessary.

The Innovator

The need for detecting new opportunities and having the competencies and the desire to develop new solutions increases.

It is important that employees see the new technological options as a support to solve with the increasingly complex tasks in the healthcare system.

Source / References

  • Based on: Fremtidens komptencer I sundhed. Lilleraturstudie og interviewundersøgelse ved AAU og CHP, Region Hovedstaden, Maj 2018