Operating through an unprecedented global pandemic, there has been ongoing demands for urgent healthcare services around the world while non-urgent services have scaled back. Many healthcare providers have been stretched to the limit – balancing a surge in COVID-19 cases with ongoing demand for other patient care. With a number of vaccines now offering the hope that the pandemic will be brought under control during 2021, healthcare providers will be looking to adjust to a different way of delivering their services and re-establishing more settled patterns of working. Recovery shapes for the sector will vary – digital health (virtual delivery of health and care services) will represent a surge pattern, while elective healthcare may not be expected to return to pre-pandemic volumes for quite some time, even when the coronavirus outbreak has been contained. It is perhaps no surprise that 39 percent of respondents in this sector view ‘surge’ as their economic recovery pattern, 10 percent higher than the cross-sector average (29 percent).
Consumer-centricity and the omni-channel approach that consumers have grown accustomed to in other industries has led to a greater expectation for personalization from healthcare providers to help consumers meet health goals. There is a fundamental shift that healthcare providers must take in understanding individuals as people rather than patients – who they are, what they want, how they behave and factors that motivate them to change. While the goals of each consumer segment may differ across prevention or treatment (ex. millennials staying healthy and baby boomers managing chronic illness), technology has a role to play for healthcare's shared vision of personalized services, liberation of patient data across the lifespan, and integration of medicine and technology disruption -- with the underlying commitment to improve clinical outcomes.
Focus areas in the new reality for healthcare providers will include: digital acceleration, care system redesign, insight-led decisions, consumer-centricity, enterprise-wide innovation and workforce transformation. Technology will sit at the heart of these. The redesign of care pathways that are more patient-centered and integrated means that many legacy systems and architecture must be modernized to leverage real-time data and enable predictive modeling capabilities. To meet modern business demands, healthcare organizations must transform their back office systems to cloud-based ERP platforms and systems. Healthcare providers will need to adjust their ways of operating and contingency planning to handle future risks to business continuity and impacts to the care delivery model. The to-do-lists of CIOs in healthcare organizations are long and pressing.
Healthcare services already faced record demand even before COVID-19 due to lengthening life expectancies and changing demographics. But with public sector spending and borrowing levels at an all-time high after governments pumped funds into healthcare systems and stimulus/support programs, the need to more effectively enable service delivery and costs has only grown. As baby boomers reach retirement and with longer life expectancies, there will be revenue increases driven by the treatment of chronic illnesses. To avoid a revenue cliff in 2030, healthcare providers must start aligning delivery models with preferences and behaviors of millennials and younger patient cohorts who will continually exert more influence over healthcare delivery models. The changing patterns in the consumption of healthcare opens the door to lower costs, convenient care delivery, consumer tools (such as wearables or symptom monitoring), and early intervention/prevention.
Consumer centricity is a huge focus for healthcare organizations but requires overcoming challenges due to the large degree of interfaces in the middle and back offices. Improving consumer engagement means enabling healthcare providers to provide patients access to information and simplify the way they deliver services. It is no surprise therefore that the number one priority Boards are looking to IT teams to deliver is greater operational efficiency, followed by enabling the workforce and improving patient engagement.
While KPMG firms are some of the largest providers of services to healthcare organizations globally, we take a boutique approach to client issues with a focus on flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. We recognize that there are many onramps to supporting digital transformation and we’ve tailored our services accordingly: