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The future of health

17 Dec 2018, by Amy Sarcevic

Global health care spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent in 2018-2022, a considerable rise from 2.9 percent in 2013-2017.

Aging and growing populations, the greater prevalence of chronic diseases, and exponential advances in innovative, but costly, digital technologies continue to grow health care demand and expenditures.

Health care stakeholders—providers, governments, payers, consumers, and other organizations—struggling to manage clinical, operational, and financial challenges envision a future in which new business and care delivery models, aided by digital technologies, may help to solve today’s problems and to build a sustainable foundation for affordable, accessible, high-quality health care.

“Making this vision a reality will require a philosophical shift in focus away from a system of sick care, in which we treat patients after they fall ill, to one of health care, which supports well-being, prevention and early intervention,” says Dr. Stephanie Allen, Deloitte Global Health Care sector leader.

“To make this shift, today’s health care system will need to partner with other traditional sectors such as employment, housing, education, and transportation to address the social determinants of health, and with new sectors such as retail, banking, and technology to improve data and platform interoperability and make ‘care’ part of everyday life.”

“Health care’s evolution will have far-reaching impacts as new business models emerge that blur boundaries and drive cross-sector and cross-industry convergence,” adds Dr Allen.

“The opportunities to shape the future of health care have never been more promising and abundant, but it will take participation, collaboration, and investment across multiple stakeholders in 2019 and years to come to turn opportunities into realities.”

Dr Stephanie Allen, who is due to present at the Australian Financial Review Healthcare Summit outlines some of the key trends that will disrupt the healthcare sector.

Creating financial sustainability in an uncertain health economy

The emergence of personalised medicine, exponential technologies, disruptive competitors, expanded delivery sites, and revamped payment models is adding uncertainty into the global health economy and increasing the urgency for organisations to remain relevant and financially viable.

Providers and payers that embrace new business, care delivery, and risk models could offset the disruptive potential of powerful market entrants and emerge as leaders in the new ecosystem of affordable health care solutions

Using new care delivery models to improve access and affordability

Aging populations and the rise of non-communicable diseases are driving an industry shift away from curing disease in the short term toward preventing and managing disease and promoting overall well-being in the long term.

Health care systems will likely need to innovate and embrace new business, care delivery, and risk models to account for this shift, which could potentially reduce costs, boost quality, and improve access and affordability.

Adapting to changing consumer needs, demands, and expectations

Standing at the epicenter of the new health care value system will likely be informed and empowered consumers who have high expectations of their healthcare ecosystem.

Organisations that understand and act on how consumers would like to use digital technologies such as wearable monitoring and fitness devices will likely be well-positioned to develop patient engagement strategies that help individuals make informed health care decisions.

Investing in digital innovation and transformation

Digital innovations such as blockchain, cloud-based computing, virtual health, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, digital reality, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and others are helping reshape the future by making health care delivery more efficient and more accessible.

However, adopting many of these innovations requires capabilities that fall beyond the traditional purview of health care organizations. Health care leaders should consider building ecosystems that embrace nontraditional players and sources of knowledge outside their own four walls.

Maintaining regulatory compliance and cyber-security

Health care is likely to become more regulated in an increasingly digitised and connected health care environment. Although certain regulatory issues are of universal concern—cyber security currently heads the list—it is important for organizations to take a proactive, well-planned, and collaborative approach to compliance, while adopting a systematic approach to protect systems and data from cyber threats.

Recruiting, developing and retaining top talent

An aging workforce, rising demand for health care services, and reduction in physician working hours are driving shortages of appropriately skilled staff in both developed countries and developing economies.

Health care leaders who leverage technology-enabled opportunities to address talent challenges may both solve near-term staff shortfalls and create the building blocks for a sustainable future.

Dr. Stephanie Allen is among an esteemed line-up of speakers to address the Australian Financial Review Healthcare Summit – 19 February 2019 in Sydney.

Learn more and register.

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