To better understand how healthcare executives will be charting this change in course towards the future, KPMG surveyed 200 healthcare CEOs from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. All these leaders oversee medium-to-large hospitals, health systems and care provider networks that span privately and publicly funded systems.
80 percent of hospital directors believe that healthcare needs changes, where as 79 percent expect care delivery models to be reformed in the next three years. So what conclusions can be drawn from the survey?
- Less than a half of healthcare facility managers believe that their organizations were well-prepared for COVID-19. Still, almost all of them think that the crisis will be a factor accelerating the transformation of their sector.
- The vast majority believe that in the next 3 years, all aspects of care delivery models will be significantly transformed. However, few have already started the process of adapting to such transformations.
- Healthcare leaders agree that the current models are not adjusted to the future challenges, in which the key role will not be played by the number of services but rather by their quality.
- The growing importance of the local community and non-hospital care is considered to be positive. However, many managers are still at an early stage of adapting their own care models.
- When it comes to challenges related to medical staff, leaders focus on supporting and optimizing the resources they have. However, they are aware of the growing gap between the demand for medical services and their supply.
- It is generally agreed that technology plays an essential role in transforming healthcare – from care delivery, increasing the number of employees, to focusing on the customer. However, few managers have developed digital strategies which look far enough into the future. Many of them regard challenges posed by the adaptation to new technologies as a potential barrier to transformation.
- When it comes to leadership in healthcare organizations, managers need to expand the scope of skills required to face digital future.
Digital healthcare. Not “if” but “when”
The need for digital acceleration in the healthcare sector is obvious from the point of view of patients and healthcare professionals. When medical records are still kept on paper, service providers share information by fax and appointments are made by phone – even though this sector uses state-of-the-art technologies – so it is evident that digital transformation is inevitable and needs to speed up.
2021 Healthcare CEO Future Pulse shows that healthcare managers treat digitization as a priority. Yet, paradoxically, few respondents (14%) give high marks to services based on digital technologies and developed in the hospital they manage.
56% of the healthcare CEOs believe patients will develop the ability to self-manage their health
Concerns about the lack of appropriate solutions and skills are the biggest obstacle on the way to transformation. The list of barriers includes rapid changes in the health sector, mismatched regulatory solutions and insufficient staff digital skills.
66 percent of managers expect that telemedicine and other digital methods of service provision will gain importance in the future. Over a half of respondents (59 percent) are sure that “a significant amount of diagnostics, consultations and treatment will be done digitally instead of in-person.” From this point of view, what is worth noting is the disparity between awareness and actions – one in ten directors (11 percent) declares zero organizational investment in digital healthcare. Only a small group of respondents (7 percent) can boast of “substantial” investments in digital architecture. A large group is still postponing specific initiatives: 40 percent of respondents plan to implement digital healthcare and 43 percent declare that they already have appropriate digital development strategies for their medical facilities.
Healthcare needs to catch up with other sectors when it comes to using digital technologies. It is the only way to create a balanced, accessible and efficient architecture for service provision. Digital technology may bring a range of benefits by supporting clinical processes and the communication between the patient and the service provider and by optimizing organizational processes. However, in practice, the implementation of a digital strategy goes way beyond the development of the required infrastructure – it requires holistic, forward-looking and flexible leadership, organizational change and training for staff in new ways of working.
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