As we’ve seen during the pandemic, sectors united to focus on the challenge that was top of the world’s agenda: global health. Even before then, adjacent sectors had begun their foray into healthcare – some recognizing its growth potential, some seeing a call to action to support burdened health systems, some recognizing it as a way to touch their customers’ lives in new ways. Whatever the reason – the reality is that many non-traditional players are entering the healthcare space offering their expertise, reconfiguring their products for healthcare contexts, or creating new partnerships with health systems.
How are these sectors being welcomed (or not) by health systems? Data from the 2021 Healthcare CEO Future Pulse, a survey of 200 hospital and health system leaders around the world revealed that many CEOs (62 percent) are aware of the value of partnerships, and that — now or within the next two years — are planning to forge robust buy/build partnerships to minimize capability gaps, mitigate risks and reduce costs. For an industry that has often operated with a lot of pride and self-sufficiency, it is refreshing to see that health leaders are open to asking for help. And in the Future Pulse report, you can further read how they view these sectors – as partners, suppliers, competitors, or not on their radar at all.
We asked some of our global sector leaders in KPMG: “what are some of the emerging ways your sector is playing a role in healthcare? Are they contributing value as partners to healthcare organizations or new-entrant competitor?” Here are their views on the evolving relationship between healthcare and the government, infrastructure, technology, retail, and insurance sectors:
Since the pandemic there has been a much stronger focus on supporting the more vulnerable. We now better understand the need to ensure that whatever services are provided by either government or health systems, we must be able to service those most vulnerable successfully.
This new emphasis has seen many governments across the globe better integrate the factors that lead to health inequalities and the burden of disease into new programs and refreshed policies. For example, for people who are homeless, a number of geographies in the height of the pandemic actively moved to take rough sleepers off the street and house them in suitable accommodation to reduce their risk of being infected by COVID-19. In other places, vaccines are being provided freely to all with outreach services targeting the more vulnerable such as the elderly and people with disabilities to ensure that they are protected.
In today’s world, the relationship between government and the health sector will underpin our collective future with both sectors needing to work together if individuals, families and communities are to be safe and prosper.
Global Head, Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare
Global Lead, Human and Social Services
Infrastructure underpins the foundation of the healthcare sector with the provision of physical assets including hospitals, healthcare centers and medical technology and production labs. It also plays a vital role in city planning, providing pedestrian walkways, cycle lanes and well-lit public spaces to improve the safety and wellbeing of residents, as well as green spaces, buildings and low emissions zones to decrease pollution and the implications on respiratory health. The intelligent design of infrastructure, allowing for flexible use of assets, helps to optimize the healthcare system’s emergency response measures for example the transformation of exhibition centers and other assets into temporary hospitals during COVID-19.
Infrastructure funds are also increasingly becoming a key financer in the healthcare sector. A shortage of traditional long-term infrastructure projects has led to the development of an alternative asset class with investors diverting capital to assets such as pathology labs, mental health facilities and portfolios of care homes.
As healthcare becomes increasingly flexible, personalized and connected, the relationship between our two sectors will only become further entwined with infrastructure providing the physical, technological and logistical enablers to the health sector as we seek to maximize the social license within which we operate.
Global Head of KPMG IMPACT and Global Head of Infrastructure
As a result of tech advances, the healthcare sector will arguably deliver the most important benefits to humankind, more so than any other sector! While technologies have long been critical enablers within the connected healthcare ecosystem, 5G and edge computing are opening new opportunities by enabling the faster and greater flow of data – a critical enabler to a healthcare ecosystem with more connected devices such as wearables for remote patient monitoring, or enabling more sophisticated predictive analytics for earlier interventions. Telcos and tech providers are already enabling new services such as remote surgery, whilst also providing new services directly to consumers, such as mobile based virtual consultations – whose use was eagerly embraced during COVID-19. While there must be healthy competition, we would advocate for co-operation and collaboration.
Global Head for Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Health and wellness aren’t just short-term trends. People are committed to healthier living, so the consumer and retail sectors have an active role to play in helping people make better, more sustainable choices in the products they buy, the food they consume, and how they access healthcare.
There’s an opportunity to drive business growth that is good for people’s health, their communities and the planet. This should be centered around deep understanding of your customers’ health and wellness needs and preferences, leveraging the right capabilities (processes, talent, technology, data) and/or partnerships. What this might look like is partnerships that leverage the broad footprint of retail to facilitate access to care (e.g. retail pharmacies), improved dietary options that are more affordable and sustainable, and engaging consumers with information and products that allow them to make better lifestyle decisions in their daily lives. But a one-size-fits-all approach will not work as consumer demand often varies geographically. Companies and brands will need to pivot and find strategies that work for them and appeal to these demands. And while there has always been a link between healthcare organizations and the consumer and retail sector, as people are increasingly committed to healthier living - there’s an expectation we’ll embark on this journey together in the transition to consumer commerce.
Global Head of Consumer & Retail, KPMG International; Partner, Advisory Leadership
KPMG in France
Insurance organizations are, by nature, data driven, using access to available data sources to understand and price risk. Where this risk is tied to health outcomes such as in health and life insurance segments there is a clear platform for value exchange between health providers, insurers and the end consumers, each with an interest to share data to achieve optimal outcomes. The marry up is even more pronounced through commercial synergies across insurance organizations as positive health outcomes typically lead to improved insurer claims experience and ultimately more affordable and suitable client propositions.
We see many insurers directly invest in supporting an improvement of health outcomes and health services for their customers. Insurers around the globe are expanding their role in health and wellbeing services. New programs have launched covering personalized support, physical activity, nutrition, weight management, stress management, sleep, social connectedness and health screenings and are rapidly building momentum. As these propositions continue to develop and gain traction, we are seeing partnerships between insurers and healthcare organizations take shape across the entire health and insurance spectrum – from prevention to protection to response.
Laura J Hay
Global Head of Insurance
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