Webcast Review: The Future of Healthcare in Europe

04/25/2022

As a leading medical solutions provider for more than 100 years, Olympus is focused on making people’s lives healthier, safer and more fulfilling. With a global reputation for innovation, we’ve seen major advances in the treatment of hundreds of diseases and conditions, especially in our core area of medical endoscopy.

Healthcare systems are continually evolving to meet the demands of the ever-changing healthcare landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic has both created new challenges and accelerated existing trends and perhaps now more than ever, it’s important that we develop a holistic understanding of our customers’ environment. By sharing valuable market insights and highlighting key trends in healthcare, we hope to support you in enhancing the standard of care and realizing greater value.

With this goal in mind, Paul Nunn, Head of Commercial Development at Olympus hosted a webcast with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Stockholm. The presentation – which you can access in full here – highlights market trends, shares some examples of best practice, and outlines what BCG describes as critical success factors in driving transformational change in the delivery of healthcare services in Europe.

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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 Case for Change: Complexity and Costs

During the webcast, BCG discusses the ever-increasing complexity of healthcare across all disciplines and sectors. In the last century, life expectancy has doubled and the societal trend for people seeking to live longer, healthier lives continues. Advances in medical science and technology continue to improve our ability to diagnose and treat a wider range of diseases than ever before. In turn, this may necessitate a greater degree of specialization and while this has many benefits, it does tend to drive fragmentation of the healthcare system as more organizational layers are introduced. This increased complexity can have knock-on effects for the delivery of healthcare services.

In addition to growing complexity, healthcare costs are increasing at unsustainable rates, all of which underlines the case for change. While environmental factors such as ageing populations and advances in treatment options have tended to escalate costs, we do not see a directly proportionate improvement in patient outcomes. In addition, there is a wide variation in outcomes achieved across different hospitals, regions and countries in Europe (and globally). It is this disparity between resources expended and standard of care delivered that remains a real challenge for the healthcare sector.

Figure 1. A summary of key healthcare challenges by the BCG.

Reshaping Healthcare

In response to these key healthcare challenges and pressures, BCG observes several foundational shifts that have the potential to reshape healthcare. In the presentation, BCG poses the question, “what will healthcare delivery look like in the next five to ten years and what will change?” Following discussions with internal specialists, clients and industry experts, four overarching and interlinked forces are highlighted as responses to the global challenges.

Digital Transformation

The future of care will integrate both digital and physical care models and more patients will begin their journeys with a first step that is digital (read our article: Digitalizing Healthcare: The Rise of Virtual Care here). When tackling digitalization, there are some key questions you should ask: Have we prioritized the right high-value cases for digitalization? Are the right data enablers and technology platforms in place? Are we investing sufficiently in digital talent and developing digital capabilities? Get these factors right and you will see the acceleration of organizational transformation to help drive value in healthcare.

For more detailed insights on digital transformation in healthcare, read our follow up article - Aiming for Digital-first Care to Drive Value.

Focus on Value

Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC) aims to measure and optimize the health outcomes achieved for every Euro spent. BCG sees huge potential for VBHC, especially given the fact that it provides an opportunity for all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem to work together towards the same goal - greater patient value. Five key enablers form the basis of a successful VBHC approach: informatics, benchmarking research and associated tools, delivery organization, payments, and policy. These five key enablers are fundamental to driving transformational change through VBHC concepts that can operate on a system-level.

Our follow up article, Enabling VBHC: A Common-sense Measure of Success, talks in more detail about implementing VBHC and its benefits.

Patient 2.0

Patients will continue to be increasingly engaged and empowered to manage their own health, from prevention through to after-care. Encouraging this customer-centric approach involves leveraging digital technology to allow patients to become more informed and actively involved in the management of their own care.

Actions to Reduce Spend

Unsurprisingly, BCG predicts that the focus on cost reductions in healthcare will continue, with ongoing measures to reduce spending and improve efficiencies. Provider consolidation, a continued shift in care provision from inpatient to outpatient settings, and from care facilities to the home with patients being encouraged to self-manage care, will all be key levers for cost reduction.

Next Steps: Driving Value through Digitalization and VBHC

By considering more holistic strategies like VBHC and digitalization, your hospital organization can more effectively position itself to meet the healthcare challenges of today and beyond, creating more opportunities to drive value.

BCG highlights some key steps for beginning to implement these approaches, with a focus on starting small and being pragmatic to steadily build momentum through a snowball effect. In terms of digitalizing healthcare, experimenting with a select set of what BCG terms “lighthouse projects”, with well-defined use cases, clear targets and cross-organizational teams, can provide a good basis for driving these projects. Similarly, for VBHC approaches, selecting prioritized patient groups and measuring patient outcomes using benchmark data allows you to pilot and test VBHC before expanding to other areas. Perhaps most importantly, a key factor here is to create partnerships across the whole healthcare ecosystem to enhance care pathways and overcome traditional silos.