Innovation in a post-pandemic world

Since its emergence, COVID-19 has been at the center of recent innovations and advancements in healthcare. While the past two years have been filled with countless advancements in health technology, there remain many opportunities to reassess, reimagine, and reinvent the future of health care. The next two years will define the scope of what is to come.

As our world successfully transitions from pandemic to endemic, the healthcare innovation landscape is wide open to disruption as health, wellness and healthcare are brought more fundamentally in the digital age. Technological advancements will be the vigorous driver of a much-needed refocusing of healthcare delivery to put the patient experience and the navigation of healthcare services back where it matters, front and center.

What we can expect, at least in the short term, is more digital transformation, more cloud, more integration, more automation, and overall more consistent healthcare delivery. , coherent and complete.

While the endless number of possibilities is inspiring, here are six areas where I foresee the most disruption:

1. Integrating health technology and big tech: In the past, the merger between these two entities has been the subject of many false starts. Big tech companies got into health tech as quickly as they could, but last year we saw this trend finally take hold. Oracle

ORCL
acquired the nation’s second-largest provider of electronic health records; Microsoft

MSFT
unveiled plans for to integrate Teladoc Health

TDOC
clinical platform within its own Teams program; and Amazon

AMZN
integrated a well-being platform (AmazonCare) which provides employees with healthcare services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Google

GOOG
possesses revealed a new tool for clinicians that compiles health records across a wide range of electronic health record systems. This integration will drive countless innovations, all unified by their ability to simplify the patient experience.

2. Refocusing on consumer wellness products: Consumer wellness products have taken off. A recent report asserted that consumer spending has increased in wellness retail products, stating, “U.S. consumer spending in wellness categories including fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness, are increasing as approximately 40% of US consumers rate these categories as a high priority. “The pandemic has certainly helped expand this space, especially for health tech companies that were targeting individual wellness such as Platoon, Ouraand Head space. This disruption seems to be here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

3. Double “Click and Mortar” Hybrid Models: The pandemic has made virtual health a necessity, and as patients have gained experience with this delivery model, virtual care has become a preferred method for many. In February, the Ministry of Health and Social Services contributed $55 million to increase adoption and use of virtual health and reimagine how traditionally underserved populations access care. Hybrid virtual and in-person models, called “click and mortar” models, combine the benefits of virtual care and in-person care, depending on the specific level of need at any given time. This makes it possible to deliver health care when and where it is needed, thereby reducing the burden on the patient, both from the point of view of convenience and cost. Ultimately, this reinvention of healthcare delivery results in more accessible personalized medicine and a better patient journey.

4. Revolutionizing Home Care: Inspired by the success of virtual care, the ability to offer patients treatment from the comfort of their own home is revolutionizing the quality of care and its accessibility. This is especially true for Medicare paid services and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, who during the pandemic have been able to shift many of their needed services out of health care facilities and into homes. It is a trend that is only growing and, over the next three years, it is estimated this demographic will shift nearly $265 billion worth of home health care services. This reinvention of services is centered on quality and comfort, minimizing transportation and other barriers to access, and outsourcing many clinical services from hospital buildings.

5. Accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and automation: Like the fusion of health tech with big tech, AI in healthcare has always been overrated. But his time has also come. AI and automation allow healthcare systems and practitioners to remove tasks that humans don’t have to do, such as patient monitoring, writing, and many administrative tasks. I anticipate this will have the greatest impact on administrative costs, which are at least 15% of our total healthcare spending in the United States (and this rate is increasing 2.5 times faster than in comparable countries). In addition, more than half of our administrative costs are considered wasteful. AI is already making a difference by reducing labor-intensive tasks that contribute to burnout and speeding up imaging processing to deliver care faster. There is a real opportunity here to make our healthcare system more efficient and affordable, and the tandem of AI and automation will fuel this disruption.

6. Building more sustainable health systems: Climate change is greatly contributed by the very entity to which we turn when we suffer from a climate-related illness: health systems. Our healthcare sector in the United States has been one of the greatest accelerators of climate change: it is responsible for nearly 7,000 tons of waste per day, and for 10% of our country’s carbon emissions and 9% of air pollutants. Collectively, our health sector is the 13and the biggest producer of carbon dioxide in the world. Healthcare industry innovation will result in reassessment, reimagining and reinvention of enduring efforts to protect patient health beyond the exam room. Permanent Kaiser is a leader in this field today, having been carbon neutral since 2020 and aiming to be ‘net carbon positive’ by 2025. They estimate that their efforts are equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off our roads per year. We will see more and more players committing to carbon neutrality over the next few years.

The future of healthcare is undoubtedly more patient-centric, more virtual, more automated and more environmentally friendly. The disruption will see a necessary doubling of investment in technologies and organizations dedicated to reinventing a more affordable, convenient, sustainable and comprehensive patient journey. At the end of the day, that’s what healthcare is all about: making sure that we provide the patients we serve with the best possible care.

Reimaginings and reinventions of health are brimming with opportunities that will improve the quality of care and outcomes for all patients, enabling each of us to live better, more fulfilling lives. The six areas above deserve special attention, defining the landscape as we all work in our own ways to improve health and wellbeing.

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