Healthcare reimagined: is it all about technology?

Evan Rawstron, NSW Health Leader
Evan Rawstron, NSW Health Leader
Sarah Abbott, Director, Management Consulting, Health

Healthcare is undergoing enormous change. And that will only accelerate over the next ten years.

Increasing consumer demands, demographic shifts, changing patterns of disease and new models of care are creating a more complex environment for clinicians, researchers and health service operators.

Around the world healthcare expenditure is rising as new technologies allow new treatments and procedures. This puts inevitable pressure on both fiscally-constrained governments and healthcare providers.

Just published, the KPMG Australia report, Healthcare reimagined, assesses the key changes brought about by emerging technologies and other key drivers.

Personalised and connected health.

Although consumer demand for personalised service, driven by technology, has been relatively slow in the health market compared to other sectors – this will change and there will be a more pervasive shift towards connected healthcare.

Consumer perspectives on health are changing with solutions aimed at improving health in a holistic way gaining more traction, with increasing focus on self-management. Consumers will increasingly demand control and seek to understand and influence treatment and referral decisions and the new tools and platforms opening up, will give them the information and transparency to do it.

In the short-term, the current focus on pro-active wellness (food, exercise, behaviours) will continue, as will digital engagement – with consumer-held electronic medical records allowing patients on demand access to information, advice and treatment.

Telehealth platforms and in-home monitoring devices will make inhome patient monitoring the norm, allowing remote caregivers to be notified in real-time of any incidents and improving access of healthcare services to regional areas.

Consumer-collected data via wearables, digestibles and implantables will play an important role in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and to enable patients and their treating clinicians, to work in partnership to support their health and wellness.

We predict a substantial increase in precision medicine and the prevention and treatment of diseases by gene therapy. A key enabler of precision medicine is the dramatic decrease in cost. Immediate benefits are being realised, but fully exploiting this data and tailoring a broader range of health solutions remains a longterm proposition.

The rise of the cyborg

Human augmentation will be a key development. Currently sensory and mobility aids are used to help people with disabilities and impairments live fuller lives – within a decade we will see a shift beyond this towards the enhancement of human abilities.

Be prepared for change

With dramatic changes in health, healthcare leaders need to prepare their organisations for the sweeping changes. Changes that will affect both patients and clinicians.

This seven point checklist gives a good starting point.

Healthcare leaders should:

*        Have a clear vision and actionable strategy that considers the conscious trade-offs on relative focus areas, change initiatives and competencies.

*        Ensure the executive team has the necessary diverse skills to effect change and focus on collaboration and continuous improvement.

*       Assess how the workforce may need to evolve future needs, especially given the impact of digital labour and the collaboration between humans and technology. A wide array of news skills will be needed in future.

*        Identify opportunities to build relevant and sustainable partnerships with incubators, universities, research centres, the private sector, Health-Tech start-ups and global health networks

*        Create a framework to support innovation including establishing an innovation centre or unit that is charged with understanding and experimenting with emerging trends (e.g. Quantum Computing, AI).

*        Enhance understanding of your patient experience and take a patient-centred approach. Develop partnerships and alliances that can integrate patient care ‘pathways’.

*        Shift the locus of healthcare from adding inpatient beds to homecare, embracing remote healthcare solutions where possible.

We believe the future of healthcare will be centred on people. Take a look at our virtual reality experience to see how emerging technologies could help transform the way we interact in an increasingly connected world. In our vision of this future, our patient Anna is not feeling well. We explore how she interacts in a connected world with her AI assistant EVA to monitor, understand, and pro-actively manage her health.

(If viewing on mobile, move the screen 360 for the full effect)

In the next 10 years huge challenges face our healthcare sector. But the potential benefits, if we get it right, are unparalleled.

Read the full report

Add Comment