hospital without walls

Perspectives

Hospitals in the future 'without' walls

What does this mean for health care delivery systems in the future?

What will the hospital of the future look like? How will it operate? Health care leaders agree that hospitals of the future will be…More digital. More innovative. More efficient. More accessible. More integrated. More sustainable. More personalized. The hospital of the future will be a hospital without walls.

The global health care sector was already using new technologies and processes to extend care delivery outside the hospital setting when COVID-19 forced providers to transform operations overnight and dramatically adopt virtual visits and remote patient monitoring. This shift will augment physical and virtual care in a meaningful and integrated way that delivers a superior patient experience and better clinical outcomes. It will also impact the health workforce and reshape what, how, and where work is performed and by whom.

While the envisioned future still calls for brick-and-mortar hospitals, all but the highest acuity care and procedures will shift away from this setting and be delivered in the community; whether it’s stepped-up/-down clinics, retail locations, schools or community facilities, workplaces, or, most often, a patient’s home. This move will be enabled through interoperable/joined-up data, digital technologies, remote patient monitoring, value-based payments, scientific discoveries, and consumer demands.

Hospitals in the future 'without' walls

A radical frame shift to the Future of Health

What we have experienced over the last couple of years is a collision of forces that has accelerated changes within the health industry toward a Future of Health that will be radically different from what we see today. These forces include:

  • A global pandemic of historic proportions
  • Collaboration among government, health care, and life sciences organizations that is generating exponential advances in medical science
  • An explosion of digital technologies, data access, and analytics
  • Informed and empowered consumers who are globally connected through social media
  • Movement away from fee-for-service, activity-based, disease care to value-based, population health models focusing on prevention and well-being.

We have identified six key clinical and operational areas that will be impacted by these forces, moving health care organizations toward the hospital of the future; the hospital without walls.

If not now, then when? A call to action

The transition to hospitals without walls is happening. It is no longer a choice but a future reality. Virtual health is augmenting and extending care delivery outside traditional hospital buildings—clinicians and patients are demanding it; funders and regulators are supporting it. This transition is absolutely integral to creating a more sustainable and equitable public and private health system in the future. However, it doesn’t mean we’re no longer going to have the physical buildings we know as “hospitals.” Rather, the role of these will change as more and more care delivery will take place in the home, at work, and in our communities.

To support health system executives on their journey, Deloitte has built an easy-to-use assessment tool that measures your current progress against the six dimensions outlined in this paper that we believe are essential to delivering the hospital of the future. Importantly, this assessment tool provides comparative data from similar hospitals/networks and the ability to join a global community of practice—to share, learn, and collaborate with like-minded leaders who are all facing the same challenges and opportunities. If you would like to learn more, please contact Deloitte Global’s Health Care Chief of Staff, Michael Hood, at mihood@deloitte.com for further information.

About Deloitte’s Global Life Sciences & Health Care Industry Group

Life sciences and health care is transforming and moving at an unprecedented rate of change. From strategy to delivery, Deloitte’s life sciences and health care industry group combines cutting-edge, creative solutions with trusted business and technology acumen to help navigate, define and deliver tomorrow’s digital business, today. Our capabilities, together with industry insights and experience across the health care ecosystem, can help guide organizations to stay ahead of health care transformation and prepare for the Future of HealthTM.

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