New roads to the health care of tomorrow

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New roads to the health care of tomorrow

How the future of mobility promises to change the US health care system

The new mobility ecosystem could expand patient access to care—but accident-avoiding self-driving cars might mean empty emergency rooms. The future of mobility will bring dramatic change to the health care sector; how should providers, insurers, and others adapt?

Introduction: Beyond house calls and ambulance rides

The way Americans seek and receive health care seems to shift so often it can be hard to keep up. Providers are taking on financial risk for populations, evaluating ways to improve access and outcomes, and making consumer experience a priority. And more striking developments appear on the horizon.1

Outside, on the roads leading to doctors’ offices and insurers’ headquarters, the changes may be even more dramatic, as the way people and goods travel from point A to B heads toward a future expected to be increasingly characterized by shared, autonomous, and seamlessly integrated mobility. The confluence of these transformations could carry very real implications for patients, providers, and more, possibly altering how health is managed and communities are organized.

Even as US health care stakeholders react to and plan for a wide range of challenges and opportunities, they should consider accounting for and leveraging trends in mobility as well. Consider a future in which:

  • Demand for trauma care falls as partially and fully autonomous vehicles become increasingly mainstream and road traffic accidents decrease
  • Customer access to health care grows as consumers get new options to reach existing providers, and providers develop mobility networks that allow them to access consumers
  • Medical supply chain dynamics have fundamentally changed, as nimble transportation networks are created and existing models are disrupted, allowing more efficient supply networks

In this new world, business models are unlikely to remain stable, and health care organizations should begin adapting to these changes now. Self-driving cars could be commercially available as early as next year,2 and Deloitte’s analysis suggests that by 2030 more than 10 percent of miles traveled in the United States could be in shared autonomous vehicles.3

This article explores how these changes could unfold—and how health care providers and supporting players can position themselves in a health ecosystem underpinned by autonomous and shared mobility. We consider how mobility’s march toward a more seamless, integrated, and multimodal future might unfold, examining the rapid nature of changes and the potential impact on health care. Finally, we look at key areas in which these changes could most dramatically alter care, from fewer accidents to improved supply chains, and examine how health systems can prepare to capitalize on the future of mobility.

1 Nick Wingfield, Katie Thomas, and Reed Abelson, “Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan team up to try to disrupt health care,” New York Times, January 30, 2018. View in article

2 Alex Davies, “GM will launch robocars without steering wheels next year,” Wired, January 12, 2018. View in article

3 Scott Corwin, Nick Jameson, Craig Giffi, and Joe Vitale, Gearing for change, Deloitte University Press, September 29, 2016. View in article

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