Watch: How COVID-19 is Shaping the Future of the Health Care IndustryMay 20, 2020
Accenture’s Health Practice leaders paint a compelling picture reimagining the future of health care which seamlessly connects care, society, and work.
Who should listen in?
This information will be important to businesses of all sizes. Every organization will be expected to think like a health organization in some form or fashion going forward.
Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., Senior Managing Director, Global Healthcare Practice, Accenture
Kristin Ficery, Managing Director, North American Health – Industry Lead, Accenture
The world is adjusting to new standards brought on by COVID-19. Industry realities and new human truths will have impacts on all strategies going forward. As such, the health care industry is changing. The crisis and its response efforts have left a mark on people and institutions, both economically and mentally. Industry realities are being exacerbated, new human truths are emerging based on evolving behaviors and sentiment, and new business models are leading to new strategic requirements all health care organizations must address.
While no industry has gone untouched by the COVID-19 crisis, the healthcare industry has undergone tremendous changes to adapt to the public’s needs. Accenture spoke with Detroit Regional Chamber members in a Restart Webinar to address the industry issues magnified amid the pandemic such as labor shortages, digital limitations, and fragile economics.
“The future of care is fundamentally everything that we did before but adding the concept of distance,” said Kaveh Safavi, senior managing director of Global Healthcare Practice at Accenture.
Since the pandemic began, the number of Telehealth visits has increased 15 to 20 times, and will likely remain a popular method of receiving care. Accenture estimates that post-pandemic, one in three healthcare visits will take place virtually. Before COVID-19, only one in 20 visits were virtual.
The industry must adapt to the newfound popularity in Telehealth visits by revisiting care models and the patient experience. While Telehealth visits were previously advertised as a convenient alternative to going to a doctor’s office, long-term social distancing and general fear of coming into contact with COVID-19 in a hospital setting have created a necessity for this service.
Industry Realities Amplified
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis taking hold, issues present in the healthcare industry were manageable. After surges of COVID-19 patients put immense pressure on the industry, these realities became visible. The pandemic didn’t cause them since the issues were present beforehand. Issues include:
Labor shortages of workers on the front lines providing care. Before COVID-19, there was a rising clinician shortage.
Capacity constraints in facilities for intensive care. Before COVID-19, hospitals were reducing their investments in buildings to conserve capital. This decrease in surge capacity led to hospitals facing bed shortages for COVID-19 patients.
Supply chain hurdles for essential products and medical equipment including personal protective equipment (PPE). Existing hurdles preventing the introduction of new sources of product innovation plagued the industry’s ability to accumulate the supplies necessary to face the virus.
Limited digital abilities for care continuity and detection of COVID-19 symptoms. Lack of trust and lack of experience with clinical workflow integration prior to the pandemic prevented better use of digital technologies in addressing the crisis.
Fragile economics for financing the continuity of care. Prior to the pandemic, the industry used activity-based payments with push-pull toward value-based payments and incentives.
Accenture outlines the future of health with its “NewFUTURE” framework. The impact of COVID-19 will create lasting change in three areas: the future of care, society, and work.
Care will now encompass digital alternatives to in-person visits while maintaining confidence, safety, and respect. Developments in society will take place when public and private sectors unite with citizens to respond to the public’s evolving health needs. And the future of work in healthcare will involve developing the management of an elastic workforce to maximize both productivity and well-being among all workers.
“The pandemic has proven to us that well-being is a combination of health care and social systems,” said Safavi. “The problem of the health of society is not just the problem of health care. It is the problem of society.”