The Changing Face Of Healthcare Industry

Trends in the Healthcare Industry

Despite its banality, I have to mention about the ‘unprecedented transformation’ in yet another industry. One whose  advancement delights the entire humanity – Healthcare.

For a long time, Healthcare players have scored poorly on customer-centricity – Lack of transparency around pricing, quality of care, and inconvenient service delivery models. ‘Commercialization of Healthcare’ is a phrase often used in our casual conversations. Consumers have now started voicing their concerns, especially after experiencing high-quality service in other industries. Acceding to customer demands is resulting in a fundamental shift in the core business model of the Healthcare players. Technology advancement has been of significant aid in this transformation – the way services are provided and consumed.

Global Healthcare spend is estimated to be ~10 trillion USD by 2022. The Healthcare Technology market is expected to be ~280 billion USD by 2021 – 2019 Deloitte Global healthcare outlook

Here are the important business trends sweeping the Healthcare industry:

  1. Value and outcome-based payment models – The benefits of value-based healthcare extends to all the players in the Healthcare ecosystem. Lower costs and better results for patients, higher patient satisfaction for providers, reduced risks for payers, and overall reduced health care spending and healthier society
  2. Multiple delivery models – Virtual/Tele Healthcare, home health, online self-help are stretching the boundaries of affordable, convenient, and high quality Healthcare
  3. Innovate health insurance models – By leveraging technology, insurance companies can build pricing models which are linked to lifestyle and health data
  4. Disruptive competitors – With the entry of non-traditional but technically savvy players – Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Healthcare industry is set to ride the wave of disruption. Traditional players will have no choice but to change to stay relevant

As per Gartner’s 2019 Global CIO survey, for the first time in many years, there is a shift in investment priorities for Healthcare providers. The top focus areas now are analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and consumer engagement technologies.

  • Analytics – With the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and other digital solutions, Data is growing exponentially. Harnessing the power of Data will not only help in solving patient health issues but also improving the efficiency of back end operations. Hence, Analytics is no longer optional but a must-have
  • Artificial Intelligence(AI) – The transformative power of AI is seen in research and development of drugs, patient care, and also in insurance models. All Cloud providers now offer AI frameworks which significantly reduce the barriers for Healthcare solution providers to quickly adopt them in building cutting-edge solutions
  • Consumer engagement technologies – A video call to a doctor, a connected measuring or monitoring device, consolidated and centralized personal health data were beyond imagination not so long ago. However, they are now slowly becoming mainstream. Rapidly building such disruptive and consumer-centric applications is possible only by leveraging the power of Cloud

The major Cloud players now claim to offer HIPAA and other industry regulations compliant services. It is also now a well-accepted fact that data and applications are more secure and available on Cloud than the traditional in-house infrastructure.

All of this sounds promising. However, we should not discount the fact that Healthcare has been traditionally conservative when it comes to technology adoption. Also, it is one of the highly regulated and politicized industries, thus limiting the freedom and pace with which organizations move. To foster innovation and ensure that health benefits reach all levels of society, there is a need for a trusted partnership between the providers, payers, regulatory bodies, and government. With the need for different applications to talk to each other and exchange data, there can be no better use case for Cloud. However, as multiple players are involved across the value chain, security and governance become the key to ensure the sensitive patient data is not misused.

As per the World Health Organization, today, a child born in Malawi can expect to live for only 47 years while in Japan could live for 83 years. There is no biological reason for such a significant gap. It is primarily because of lack of access to affordable healthcare. Technology can play a pivotal role in bridging this gulf, and, thankfully, the early signs look good.

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