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In recent years the pace of technological change and the volume of information and data available to healthcare providers has become almost overwhelming. Driven by rapid diffusion of new technologies providing data on an unprecedented scale, some estimates suggest that the time taken to double the volume of medical knowledge will have fallen from 3.5 years in 2010 to 0.2 years in 2020.1 Alongside this growth, industry estimates indicate that in the direct-to-consumer market in 2017, more than 325,000 healthcare applications were available on smart phones, with downloads of more than 3 billion expected.2 For healthcare leaders, this creates problems in providing advice to patients about alternative care pathways.

As outlined in the six trends in the section previous, the COVID-19 pandemic has simply added to this deluge of information and options. By 7 May 2020, The Economist estimated a total of almost 4,000 peer reviewed research papers had been published on the pandemic, and a further 3,000 preprints (manuscripts published prior to peer review) in just three months.3 The scale of the challenge for clinicians and management to try to make sense of the sheer volume of information cannot be underestimated.

Technology - a catalyst for medical knowledge

For most health systems, this technological advance has created a tension between spending on technology and patient care, which results in a tentative approach to invest in new areas such as genomics, interventional medical imaging, immunotherapy, therapeutic augmented reality, robotic surgery and nano-technologies to name a few.

In order to make sense of all the options, and to properly assess and evaluate the opportunities that emerging technologies can bring, healthcare leaders must deploy a structured, thoughtful, outcome-led approach that considers how technology can and will support health system strategy and be integrated into the broader enterprise transformation agenda.

Looking to the future of healthcare

On the face of it, delivering on the early promise of consumer-centered digital transformation in a post-COVID-19 world poses many challenges:

Looking to the future of healthcare

Our research, however suggests a brighter future. At its heart lies a paradox: the more emphasis our health systems place on technology, the greater reliance they have on the human capabilities required to shape and align it. Therein lies the KPMG Connected Enterprise for Health framework: all the required enterprise-wide capabilities – technology, process, and people – that you need to create better experiences for consumers and the health workforce.

Many of the issues outlined previously stem from a long-term underinvestment in these critical capabilities and the lack of an organizing framework through which to drive better alignment between strategy, business and technology architectures. In so doing, health systems can realize the experiences their patients need and the return on investment from digital transformation that payers and policy makers expect.

Integrating care through the power of digital

Releasing the extraordinary potential of digital will require enterprise-wide transformation of each health organization’s business and operating models, from the clinical frontline to every diagnostic and administrative system, alongside major changes to the working lives, skills and culture of the entire workforce in health.

Across the globe, healthcare leaders are struggling with the same profound questions:

  • How do I improve patient experience, safety and quality of care?
  • How do I integrate care across settings I don’t control?
  • How do I do more with less money?
  • How do I create more value for patients, payers and the community?
  • How do I deliver care in the right setting?
  • How do I find enough staff and deliver experiences that keep them working here?

Enterprise-wide digital transformation is at the heart of the answers to these questions. Digital strategy is now central to healthcare strategy, and can no longer be developed or implemented in isolation from broader transformation efforts.

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Footnote:

1 Densen P. (2011). Challenges and opportunities facing medical education. Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 122, 48–58.

2 Research 2 Guidance (R2G). (2017). mHealth Economics 2017 – Current status and future trends in mobile health (7th Ed.): https://research2guidance.com/product/mhealth-economics-2017-current-status-and-future-trends-in-mobile-health/

3 The Economist (2020), Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent: https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/05/07/scientific-research-on-the-coronavirus-is-being-released-in-a-torrent

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