The future of health

The federal government’s role in health transformation

While federal health agencies remain under immense pressure to deliver against often shifting expectations, they’ll also play an outsized role in bringing about—and benefitting from—transformation in the health care system.

Re-envisioning health transformation

Everywhere, health has become a central issue for government agencies. The pandemic has redefined health—especially health programs, capabilities, agencies, funding, and outcomes—and revealed its shortcomings in varying ways. Today, agencies with a significant health care portfolio may often find themselves fragmented, reactive, and disconnected from the industries they regulate; poorly prepared for crisis; and, of course, underfunded.

At the same time, we’ve seen a massive transformation in the potential for American health care to change and become more efficient, interoperable, effective, accessible, responsive to community needs, equitable, and caring. However, this transformation isn’t a given. In addition to the global pandemic, agencies face a decades-long backlog of funding needs, ongoing preventable chronic disease epidemics, the growing threat of climate change, and pervasive inequities that threaten our health, longevity, and trust in government and its leadership.

The key drivers of transformation

Three dimensions will likely drive transformation in the health care system everywhere, so no single participant—especially one as essential as the federal government—can afford to ignore any single dimension.

  • Exponential opportunities. Trends such as additive manufacturing, AI, biomedical engineering, data liquidities, and quantum computing may seem remote to health, but they will directly impact the quality, affordability, and accessibility of physical, mental, and other health services.
  • Consumer empowerment. The consumer is increasingly the driver of health-related decision-making and will expect accessible health care records, diagnostic tools, virtual visits, consumer data, personalized care, and health equity.
  • Anti-status quo. Amid all forms of transformation, one common denominator will be the bias toward change. General hospitals will cease to play their central role; traditional insurance such as primary medical financing will end; mass-produced and non-targeted pharma will fade away; and—most critically for federal agencies—health will be re-envisioned, with a greater focus on accelerated innovation and improved trust and equity outcomes.

The benefits of transformation could lead to major outcomes in improved wellness. These outcomes could, in turn, produce a well-being “dividend” across our economy of roughly $3.5 trillion by 2040—a dividend to be shared among all major players in the health care system, including federal agencies.

What role will you play in the future of health?

Amid the COVID pandemic, federal agencies remain under immense pressure to deliver against often shifting expectations. But even when the worst moments of the pandemic pass, the federal government will retain a major and outsized role in the health of the nation and, importantly, will be able to guide its transformation toward a system that is more digital and more consumer-centric.

Each major player should decide where to act, when to act, and how to act by considering the following:

  1. Assess your readiness for the transformation in health care: Every agency needs to evaluate where it stands as the trends shaping health care take root. Can you say your current programs and priorities are “transformation-ready” or “transformation supporting”?
  2. Define the priority areas where you need to play: Determining where your agency can be most proactive will yield a set of strategic goals that are achievable and impactful.
  3. Build greater capacity for future transformations: Addressing near-term priorities will allow your agency to think and act more boldly to shape the transformation of health care today.

Next steps in the journey toward health transformation

Download the full report to explore the six major trends that are transforming health and how federal agencies can capture the savings, efficiencies, quality enhancements, and improved outcomes these trends promise.

Get in touch

Beth Meagher
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP


Jason Wainstein
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Neal Batra
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP


Joseph Bakal
Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

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