HealthManagement, Volume 18 – Issue 3, 2018
The future of healthcare: Turning challenges into opportunities
Providing value-based care will be one of the driving forces in the future as highlighted by Siemens Healthineers professionals Dr. Ghada Trotabas, Dr. Arthur Kaindl, and Dr. Jonathan Darer at Healthcare Business International (HBI) 2018.
The biggest challenge facing healthcare is the need to improve value for patients. Healthcare systems today are struggling with rising costs and varying quality. Most diagnoses and treatment protocols are designed for typical patients. Delivery of care is fragmented and is merely focused on volume. Healthcare is yet to leverage the full potential of data, and the patient experience journey remains in its infancy.
At Healthcare Business International (HBI) 2018, top executives from Siemens Healthineers shared their thoughts about the future of healthcare and how healthcare could meet these challenges by enabling healthcare providers to increase value.
Discussions were around the topics of expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, improving patient experience and digitalising healthcare, led by panelists from Siemens Healthineers—Dr. Ghada Trotabas, Dr. Arthur Kaindl, and Dr. Jonathan Darer.
Expanding precision medicine
Healthcare will see an increased focus on medicine that is more precise and affordable. This will require more efficient integration of relevant patient data, leading to precise diagnostics. By tailoring therapy on the basis of the disease and specific patient characteristics, healthcare providers can give the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. The more precise the treatment, the better patient outcomes will be. Improved patient outcomes will translate into improved value.
The term “precision medicine” is widely used today, but implementing it will require a greater focus on health data integration and the use of computational tools and IT interfaces to provide precise medical care. As Dr. Jonathan Darer, Clinical Consultant at Siemens Healthineers pointed out, the most effective way to deliver high-quality care to patients, especially those with multiple chronic diseases, is to focus on three things:
- Mastering the flow of data across all stakeholders to let people know what’s happening to patients
- Having a different care model to help patients navigate the complex healthcare system wherever they go
- Engaging patients and families as active members of the care team.
- Precision medicine can only become a real-world option if health data is properly integrated. Diagnostics and treatment decisions based on this integrated data are what could ultimately ensure value-based care and patient-centred therapy.
Transforming care delivery
As we work on improving value, we need to make certain that the care delivery model ensures positive patient outcomes without an increase in costs. This will require consolidation. The new care delivery model will need to optimise clinical operations and automate standardised workflows. Inefficiencies present within our healthcare delivery system often affect patient care. Not only do these inefficiencies increase costs, but they also negatively impact patient outcomes. Healthcare legislation is another factor that affects the efficiency of healthcare delivery. The future of healthcare can be much improved if our healthcare system focused more on optimising workflows, using clinical decision support software to streamline operations and creating the right infrastructure to ensure effective delivery of care.
By transforming care delivery, we can help improve patient access to healthcare services and make these services more affordable for the patients. That is the most efficient way of improving value. As Dr. Darer explained: “Value-based care delivery will enable healthcare professionals to better identify high-risk patients, identify patient needs with precision and connect patients to resources.”
Improving patient experience
The new healthcare model will view patients as consumers. And, like most consumers, patients will also demand value from healthcare service providers. They will have expectations, and they will want the right to choose and the right to make their own decisions. The future of healthcare will thus see a more informed patient, a patient who will demand better outcomes.
Healthcare providers can provide this value and improve patient outcomes by ensuring accurate and well-informed diagnoses, optimal treatment planning, a more supportive clinical work environment, greater transparency, continuity of care, improved patient support and connected care. Dealing with physician burnout, improving coordination and ensuring high-quality communication are additional elements that can play a critical role in providing value-based care to patients. The important thing here is to improve the fundamental structure of the healthcare system to optimise personalised treatment and patient outcomes.
A more informed patient will also be more engaged when it comes to their healthcare and treatment decisions. In other words, patients will be in a position to influence their own outcomes, and this will require greater patient engagement. When you engage patients, and when healthcare providers include them in key discussions and treatment decisions, this can have a significant impact on patient outcome. This is one area where healthcare really needs to do more work, as engaging with patients and families is still something most healthcare providers struggle with. The quality of care that is delivered to the patient can be enhanced by engaging with these patients and building an actual patient-doctor relationship with them.
Finally, digitilisation will be the new face of healthcare in the future. Artificial intelligence will become an integral part of future healthcare solutions; healthcare data will be more effectively used with the help of new and improved digital tools, and the digital revolution will change the very nature of care delivery and treatment of disease.
The healthcare industry today is faced with the challenge of improving value. It is dealing with ageing populations, increased prevalence of chronic diseases and increased healthcare spending. There is the added pressure to deliver better and more improved care without increasing costs. The only way to provide all this is by digitalising healthcare.
Digital technologies can help the healthcare industry meet the needs of patients and providers. They can do so by:
- Improving access for both patients and providers to healthcare delivery
- Enabling remote monitoring of patients
- Giving patients ownership of their health and wellness
- Increasing accuracy, standardisation and efficiency in care delivery
- Facilitating seamless communication within the healthcare system
- Leveraging artificial intelligence to better integrate and analyse healthcare data
Dr. Arthur Kaindl, General Manager, Digital Health Services at Siemens Healthineers further pointed out that digitalisation of healthcare can help create loyalty between the patient and the provider in the healthcare system. And it is this very goal that companies like Siemens Healthineers hope to achieve by providing the most relevant digital ecosystems in the market. The ultimate goal is to bring all the stakeholders together and provide the most suitable digital solutions so that healthcare providers can reap the benefits of digitalisation and use this digital transformation to create better patient loyalty.
In the end, digitalisation, personalised treatment, and a better delivery care model will improve the patient experience. This improved patient experience will increase patient loyalty and make them the ultimate winner of digitalising healthcare.
The healthcare industry is dealing with rising costs and demands for improved quality of care. The ultimate goal is to improve patient value, and the only way the healthcare industry will achieve this is by digitalising healthcare, leveraging artificial intelligence and by better using healthcare data for more effective diagnoses and treatment. These four strategies can go a long way towards transforming healthcare and help this industry accept and embrace the digital revolution.