2023 Global Health Care Outlook
Published: 16 March 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic permanently changed global health care, from accelerating the adoption of new technology and care delivery models to increasing the focus on sustainability and resiliency. At the same time, it accentuated existing workforce challenges and the global disparities of health equity.
The lasting impact of COVID-19 may be one of opportunity in which the health sector has a chance to reinvent itself and capitalize on trends that were emerging even before the pandemic, and rapidly evolving technology to explore clinical innovation and new care delivery models. In 2023 Global Health Care Outlook, we review the five key areas that are critical to this transformation, namely virtual health delivery, digital transformation, health equity, workforce and sustainability, and we pose questions and suggest actions that professional can take to lead this transformation.
The following are some of the key takeaways from the report.
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1. Virtual health delivery
Covid-19 has accelerated the health care sector’s interest in — and the public’s acceptance of — virtual health, and many patients preferred to have mental health treatments to virtual settings, which attracted substantial investment in this new future of health care. Virtual health offerings incorporate digital capabilities that address a range of challenges confronting the health care ecosystem, including health inequity, the rising cost of care, and workforce shortages. In addition, virtual health capabilities have the potential to transform care delivery worldwide.
- The virtual health solutions have the potential to address some of the biggest challenges facing health care, which include offering more equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable and underserved groups; remote monitoring for prevention and early intervention can slow or reverse mounting care costs; adapting to changing environmental circumstances while providing optimal care and addressing clinician burnout; virtual health and emerging technologies can improve regulatory outcomes. It provides patients with better access and health care delivery.
- The benefits of virtual health have brought changes to the nature of care delivery itself and attracted new market participants, including technology and retail giants. Technology also creates greater flexibility. Patients and providers can choose a hybrid delivery model that combines the attributes of in-person and at-home care, to meet a flood of demand from an aging global population and help patients to manage mental health conditions.
Figure 1. Hospital at Home
- The implementation of virtual health requires assessing overall population health, improving collaboration among institutions, and achieving a consistently high level of public trust in virtual health services. To embrace the virtual health, organizations should consider the following steps: educate, support, and equip physicians to infuse the human element of care in virtual health encounters; rethink existing care models and assess how to prioritize virtual health investments for future care models; ensure virtual health meets the needs of all patient populations; develop a thorough understanding of the human experience of receiving and providing care, apply a thoughtful approach to workflow redesign, technology applications, and the use of care teams; consider regulatory and policy issues that may impact your model and advocate for flexibility in virtual health design.
2. Digital transformation
The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed health care systems worldwide, but one of the silver linings was that it accelerated advances in digitization and telemedicine that previously were hard to be accepted by either patients or clinicians. Providers are now accelerating adoption of new technology as they attempt to reduce costs, deal more effectively with the changing patterns of demand, address a shrinking clinical workforce, and prepare better for the next global health crisis.
- Depths of digital transformation: Despite many countries are making progress in adopting EHRs, in some other countries, vital medical information is still stored on paper. The advent of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), in which health care organizations can exchange electronic health information, is also growing rapidly.
- Heading to the cloud: Although technology can improve efficiency and reduce costs, financial pressures that go along with it are a double-edged sword in the digital transformation of health care. That said, most health executives recognize the longer-term benefits of digitization. A survey for health executives found that 96 percent expect to move their IT infrastructure to the cloud within three years. However, it is worth mentioning that migrating to the cloud can raise environmental concerns.
- Emerging technologies: Health care companies can use the emerging technologies, such as AI, telehealth, blockchain, and monitoring devices, to provide more accurate diagnoses, deliver personalized treatment and predict risk or deterioration and intervene early. Telehealth became widely accepted during the pandemic, and telehealth applications are expected to expand during the next five to 10 years.
Climate change represents humanity's single greatest health threat. In addition, higher emissions can trigger weather and environmental issues that, in turn, influence people's health. Responding to these threats requires health systems that are more resilient and sustainable. Health organizations must be prepared to provide care in the wake of natural disasters, ensure the supply of medicine amid weather-related disease outbreaks, and adopt practices that reduce waste.
- Contributing to rising carbon levels: While supply chains represent by far the biggest issues for emissions and sustainability, health care facilities and the power to run them also play a role in health care’s carbon footprint. Thus, making supply chains more sustainable took on added urgency.
- Lack of policy and regulatory support, effective responses, and strategies to cope with the climate issues are likely to remain slow. Without broad policy requirements, companies and organizations are charting their own courses to champion internal policies for emission reductions and greater sustainability.
- To track progress on sustainability, Deloitte established a strategic partnership with the Geneva Sustainability Centre and the International Hospital Federation, and built the Sustainability Accelerator Tool, which is designed for health care leaders to track their progress toward delivering low-carbon and resilient care in an equitable manner.
Figure 2: Sustainability Accelerator Tool
Throughout the global healthcare industry, the trend of virtual healthcare, digital transformation, and the challenges it brings, and sustainable development are all driving change and transformation in the healthcare industry. We hope that the 2023 Global Health Care Outlook will bring new inspiration to the industry to take full advantage of the new trends and better grasp the opportunities for the healthcare industry!