What goals should hospitals and health care system boards prioritize in these exceptional circumstances in order to prepare for the future? As firms deal with the pandemic, we anticipate that continual disruption will be the norm, and that paths to success will increasingly rely on teamwork, innovation, digitization, and scaling ahead of the competition. We need to watch out for certain healthcare priorities.
Ecosystem of collaboration to channelize healthcare priorities
COVID-19 has shown key vulnerabilities in health care organizations around the world, including safety, equipment, data availability, and infrastructure. Early on, it became clear that relying solely on an organization’s own supply lines and competencies was not an option. This resulted in impromptu alliances, with providers, suppliers, and non-health-care organizations stepping in to contribute resources and capacity to meet the situation.
Successful firms will expand on this approach, looking for ways to bridge gaps and innovate with partners who bring unique capabilities to the table in order to address healthcare priorities.
Today, we can receive items the same day we order them and trace them from order placement to delivery minute by minute. It’s not surprising that patients expect their health-care providers to be just as efficient and transparent. Instead, some patients may have to wait weeks or months for an appointment and have no idea when their exam results would be ready. To increase the convenience, timeliness, and transparency of care, organizations must examine their present barriers to consumer satisfaction and employ analytics and patient-centric solutions. For example, by implementing precision scheduling methods to reduce wasted time between imaging scans, a West Coast health institution was able to free up 5,000 extra exam slots each year, allowing patients to be scheduled sooner.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence
AI is having a huge influence in radiology, with solutions to eliminate repetitive activities, decrease bias-based reading errors, discover data patterns in pictures to forecast danger, and improve workflow procedures. For example, a collaboration between GE Healthcare and Intel promises to improve patient care while lowering costs for hospitals and health systems through the use of digital imaging solutions deployed via edge and cloud. Together, the firms believe that their solutions will boost hospital efficiency by improving asset performance, lowering patient risk and dosage exposure – thanks to faster picture processing – and shortening the time to diagnosis and treatment.
Automation is simplifying business operations in health systems that rely largely on repeated tasks, such as supply chain, revenue cycle, and customer support. Expect to see new sensors in health care (HL7, cameras, speakers, weather forecasts, and more) that will significantly increase productivity.
Importance of Virtual Care
Virtual care solutions will continue to emerge across the care continuum, from telehealth visits to virtual hospital care and home-based care. In February 2020, telehealth accounted for fewer than 1% of Medicare primary care visits; by April, the figure had increased to 43%, owing to the pandemic. This expansion appears to be sustainable, as patients and clinicians alike adopt a new virtualized paradigm. Organizations will need to connect their virtual approach with the changing needs of their markets, growth plan, and developing payment mechanisms. This is not a panacea, but rather a natural development toward better supporting physicians and patients: virtual needs to become the way organizations work rather than a separate component of the plan.
Cooperative Competition as a Strategic Option
Cooperative competition, often known as coopetition, is a major trend in health care. While some providers perceive big-box retailers, national pharmacy chains, and other newcomers as dangers, others see opportunity. Their aim is to use these power players’ strengths to lower the cost of care, improve downstream market capture, and focus on core specialist services while remaining highly connected to the patient.
CVS and Walmart now provide basic primary care, simple diagnostic services, and chronic illness management — things that health systems have struggled to provide profitably. Finding possibilities to collaborate with retail businesses to address this gap can assist to streamline organizational services, enhance access, and provide better patient care at a cheaper cost.
Diversification of Revenue
Data is becoming the money of future, according to my interactions with chief information officers, and infrastructure must enable needs at scale. Large businesses will make significant efforts to better utilize and monetize data in order to improve productivity, improve patient care, and drive more money for essential programs. We also see organizations monetizing data/intellectual property through associations with nontraditional pharma and big tech partners, as well as forming venture capital funds to monitor downside risk associated with unforeseen patient volumes and the volatility of traditional non operating investments.
Healthcare priorities for the coming years
The year 2020 has laid the groundwork for digital transformation and innovation in the healthcare system, and we must now work to scale it up and increase digital inclusion in the most remote parts of the country.