Webcast Deep-Dive: Aiming for Digital-first Care to Drive Value


As the challenges facing European healthcare systems grow, with a continued focus on improving outcomes while reducing expenditure and all against the backdrop of rising patient expectations, how can your hospital organization respond? In a recent webcast hosted by Paul Nunn, Head of Commercial Development at Olympus, along with experts from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Stockholm, some holistic strategies to drive the type of transformational change necessary to realize greater value were highlighted.

The possibilities arising from increasing digitalization, coupled with the potential benefits of applying value-based healthcare (VBHC) approaches, suggest a brighter future for healthcare in Europe. Let’s look in more detail at how implementing digital solutions throughout your hospital organization can help.

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Webcast - Future of Healthcare

  • Insights concerning key challenges and trends in the ever-changing healthcare environment
  • Best practice examples
  • Critical success factors in driving transformational change
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The trend towards digital healthcare

Of all the areas BCG have identified as being important to driving value in healthcare, digital transformation is perhaps the most tangible in terms of its practical application. The adoption of digital solutions has accelerated rapidly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we see the positive effects that the introduction of digital technologies and virtual care is having on healthcare every day to reduce backlogs and provide faster access to diagnosis and treatment.

Connected devices, digital therapeutics, digitally enhanced sensors, decision support tools, predictive analytics. All of these - and more - are already supporting patients, families and clinical teams throughout patient pathways to transform care and improve patient experience. As we move into a post-pandemic future, how will the promise of a digital healthcare revolution endure? BCG suggests that blending both virtual and in-person engagement seems likely to be the most effective approach, with many patients beginning their journeys with a first step that is digital in nature.

Assessing and addressing digital maturity

BCG assessed the digital maturity of the European healthcare market in a study comparing US and European providers. Findings indicated that the level of digital maturity of European providers is lower than their US counterparts. 1 Competition in the profit-driven US healthcare market encourages significant digital investment in a bid to drive efficiencies, but evidence shows that extracting value from these investments quickly is difficult. In contrast, the same level of competition between providers does not exist in predominantly public European healthcare systems, so the motivation behind investing in innovation and the process by which funds are made available for this purpose are different.

That said, government pledges and initiatives to invest in digitalization across the public healthcare sector are on the rise and speeding up the digital revolution to leverage future opportunities is key. As healthcare becomes more value-based and personalized, it should also become more predictive, preventive and resilient to challenges. Digital technologies can help to accelerate this shift and European providers may benefit from a second-mover advantage with the opportunity to learn from others about how to successfully implement and extract value from digital investments more quickly.

Implementing and extracting value from digitalization

In many cases, digitalization is often not seen as a priority in itself. Although the importance of digital tools in improving care and efficiency is recognized, digitalization and data analytics are often seen as “results to deliver” rather than foundational pillars. Instead, we should think of digital transformation as a component that plays a role in all that a hospital organization delivers – from clinical to administrative operations.

BCG observed that translating digital strategy into action to extract value can be difficult without the right people. It may be possible to collect and analyze digital data, but investment in digital talent and/or training is needed to create real momentum. In addition, external barriers such as government involvement, legislation and rulings concerning data protection can slow the pace at which transformation is possible.

Next Steps for Providers: Driving Digital Transformation

When considering ways to push and expand digital transformation in your organization, BCG outlines some key points to consider:

  • To what extent are digital operations, personalized patient journeys etc currently implemented, and how can innovation be driven further?
  • Are there clear, defined strategies with targets and roadmaps for digital initiatives?
  • Do current technology platforms enable innovation and are the right people in place to drive this?

Getting these factors right from the beginning and prioritizing appropriate high-value pilot cases based on well-defined use cases, with clear targets, can help your hospital organization scale digitalization journeys. BCG emphasizes that cross-organizational teams working together to implement change on a small scale can in turn help to accelerate fundamental organizational transformation towards a more value-based model.


  1. 1.BCG’s 2021 Provider Digital Benchmark, assessed the digital maturity of 24 European hospitals from 10 countries.

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