Over the years, emerging technologies, innovation, scientific breakthroughs, and new business models have dramatically transformed the healthcare industry. Some of the top trends that are fast revolutionizing the field of healthcare, range from availability of information and Big Data, integrated medical records, improved communications, automated processes, among others. As rapid advancements in technology disrupt traditional models of healthcare, there is a shift in focus from sick care or treatment-based reactionary care to prediction, prevention, and wellbeing.
Greater emphasis on the first mile of health or healthcare focused on basic needs such as food, housing, insurance etc. has become an imperative, that requires the utmost attention. A first-mile approach requires a change in mindset that focuses on healthcare and sustained living from an early stage, from both an individuals’ and a society’s perspective. This in turn is necessary to solve the much more challenging, and difficult last leg of the healthcare journey or the last mile problem of sick care delivery.
Some of the current healthcare systems are significantly focused on the last mile, and this is a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed, with greater investments in the first mile of health. Larger investments are required on prediction of future health problems, with the help of gathering and interpreting relevant data. Powerful tools such as predictive analysis, i.e., combining data from multiple sources to predict the likelihood of a future outcome, will greatly accelerate the healthcare journey by avoiding long-term healthcare problems and reducing costs significantly, especially in the fields of emergency and intensive care.
Digital healthcare technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data analytics, among others are rapidly transforming healthcare delivery – both first and the last miles. The proliferation of these modern technologies and rapid innovations are helping in greatly improving the efficiency of healthcare, with the help of faster delivery as well as by reducing wasteful expenditures and costs.
For realizing the future possibilities, healthcare organizations need to push this agenda forward and needs to work on building the culture and foundation today, with a strong focus on creative thinking, and fully leveraging the available digital technologies, for delivering healthcare that is fast, efficient, affordable and equitable. Upgrading healthcare infrastructure, especially in the rural areas; greater engagements of patients with greater AI infusion; greater unlocking of data for smarter solutions are some of the areas that require attention in this regard.
Another big challenge facing the healthcare industry is delivering Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC). UHC requires providing access to quality healthcare services for all, whenever and wherever they need them and without having to suffer any financial hardships. UHC is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted in 2015.
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the many vulnerabilities and inadequacies in the healthcare systems and highlighted how a health crisis can have devastating impacts on healthcare and healthcare systems. This has necessitated the need for filling the gaps in Universal Health Coverage, along with establishing strong public heath systems and greater investments in preparedness for emergency shocks and future pandemics.
Digital health initiatives and greater use of technology will be key for achieving universal and affordable access to healthcare, that will have the potential to deliver real progress at scale in health systems. Tools such as Impact Investments also have immense potential in this regard, as it can address various aspects of the healthcare systems – from physical infrastructure to financial solutions to vaccine development.
Effective collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders including the Governments, industry, insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare providers is required for the delivery of efficient and equitable healthcare. Catalyzing private sector participation to address the challenges of public health is also important. Raising awareness on digital healthcare initiatives and training and developing a competent healthcare workforce are also essential prerequisites for achieving universal healthcare.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is hosting the CII Business Summit: Being Future Ready on 11 and 12 May 2022, which would bring global experts, business leaders, youth icons and thought leaders on a single platform to chart the future trajectory of the industry. Join the Summit to know more on how disruptive technologies will change the future of healthcare, as the experts and strategists share their valuable thoughts and insights.
Watch 1st CII ‘Being Future Ready’ Business Summit 2022 on CII Youtube channel: http://youtube.com/FollowCII