We’re living in fast moving times and nowhere is this more evident than in the healthcare industry. From innovative medical device design to ease-of-access to patient data to the changes in learning and research. The pace of change in healthcare is staggering. And no, this is not an exaggeration.
Think of this small example of changes in medical data sharing as a harbinger of things to come. A patient has regularly schedule bloodwork every three months. This patient normally had to wait a minimum of three weeks to receive a copy of her bloodwork results. In 2017, this all changed. With a small annual fee of $20, this patient has immediate access to her bloodwork results. Now, the day after the bloodwork appointment, the patient logs into the lab’s secure portal and can see her bloodwork results. This data goes beyond the plain numbers and provides an analysis of the results, highlighting abnormal numbers and patient history.
This example seems very simple but think of the tangential impacts this data-sharing has on the patient and her healthcare providers. The patient is not stressing for three weeks waiting for her bloodwork results. The analysis of the results eases the load on her primary care doctor and when the results are normal, a follow-up appointment can be avoided – freeing up more time for the doctor. In addition, this data can easily be shared across labs, hospitals, and doctors, making it possible to speed access to care and medical expertise.
Often, it’s the small changes that can result in the largest impacts. This is exactly where healthcare is going in 2018. Taking advantage of technology to make a real difference in solving the problems and delays we all see in healthcare.
2018 and the Healthcare Industry
We all know that the healthcare industry needs to change. However, we also all know that change is hard. Particularly when the change involves long-standing practices, organizations, multiple decision-makers, and layers of regulations. This is the reality for healthcare in 2018 – change is a must – the problems come in determining where to focus energies and how best to do this.
This is exactly what the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute set out to determine in its annual report on top health industry issues of 2018. This report serves as an ideal launching pad for innovators, thinkers, leaders, and medical device technology companies to focus their energy on how to make the most effective innovation and change.
We urge you to download the PwC report and review the contents in detail. In the meantime, we want to highlight the key takeaways from the PwC report. Our goal is to create conversations with you about how we can harness innovation for real change to provide positive outcomes that support fixing the top issues facing healthcare in 2018.
- Tackling the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis is complex and far-reaching. This is a problem that knows no boundaries. How do healthcare leaders and innovators collaborate to drive solutions? Data-sharing across healthcare providers, giving patients better pain management options, connecting patients with treatment professionals in real-time, post prescription monitoring, dispensing security, empowering patients with access to data and people – these are just some ways change can happen.
- Creating real outcomes. Healthcare is expensive, with the US spending more on healthcare per capita per year than any other country. However, the outcomes tied to this spending are lagging. People are limited by economic status, community resources, and other invisible but real healthcare borders. Equal and equitable healthcare for all is a must for all citizens. Taking advantage of the capabilities offered by the IoT, artificial intelligence, mobile apps, and connected collaboration can go a long way in providing affordable and effective healthcare. The technology is there – it’s literally waiting for the right innovators to harness it to make real change.
- Be ready for anything. If we learned anything in 2017, it’s that natural disasters know no boundaries or limits. The hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and deep-freezes of 2017 are having long-term impacts. From the manufacturing of drugs to continuity of care to access to life-saving surgery – the entire healthcare industry was damaged. Real business continuity and disaster recovery planning is a must for the healthcare industry. Using the latest in communication, IoT, cloud-sharing, blockchain security – leaders and innovators need to come together to create actionable plans for the next disaster.
- IoT security. Yes, the IoT is changing healthcare, but we cannot overlook the security implications. Hospitals have been hacked. There will be more security breaches. How do we ensure we get the advantages of connectivity without the security risks – giving everyone peace-of-mind that their life-saving machines, medical records, and even the lights in the corridors stay on and protected from savvy criminals?
- Patients first. Healthcare is built around the people who need it – the patients. But in the cash-strapped, time-hampered, and over-worked healthcare industry of 2018, patient care can easily fall behind. Can we use the technologies that allow for communication anytime anywhere, instant shipping, parcel tracking, and smart homes – to improve and change the patient experience? Shifting the focus to putting the patient first can be done if we take a closer look at how we use existing technologies to put consumers first.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) leads the way. We know how AI can be effective in achieving real outcomes in improved efficiency and collaboration. There are so many ways in which AI can be used to automate repetitive processes, detect unseen patterns, and make real change within healthcare. Improving internal efficiencies, more manageable scheduling practices, predictive analysis, and real-time collaboration are just a few examples. We’re just waiting for the right innovators to recognize the potential AI can have in making real change in our healthcare industry.
The underlining theme with these talking points is – the waiting. We are all waiting for you, the innovator and thinker to get-on-board. There is real opportunity here to make effective change that results in real outcomes. Outcomes that make a difference.
Be Part of Shaping Healthcare in 2018
It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the challenges in the healthcare industry. We admit that there is a lot of work to be done – but we want you to see these challenges as possibilities. Real possibilities for real outcomes. Outcomes that come with teamwork, research, communication, and a proven approach to real innovation.
Think about barriers you’ve faced with your healthcare. Now, think of how you would make change to eliminate these barriers. Next, think of how this will help others. And now, contact us to learn how our expertise can support and encourage the development of a real solution that solves the consumer need you have identified. See – small change for big outcomes.