COVID-19 has turned health into a daily human reality more than ever before. Healthcare has been suddenly and forcefully embedded into our work, play and other experiences, and demand on providers has soared.

Healthcare providers need a new strategic framework to outmanoeuvre uncertainty, while demonstrating measurable benefits—a reflection of the shift towards better patient value and health outcomes. Existing health structures are insufficient. People expect radically new services and experiences from health providers. Care providers must reinvent themselves to operate in ecosystems that improve access and affordability.

What does this mean for your operating model? You should be looking to:

  • Create visibility into a rapidly changing environment;
  • Reimagine the consumer/patient experience for existing services;
  • Pivot your health services to address new consumer needs; and
  • Rethink your funding models and ecosystem enablers

Finally, you need to explore new roles you can play—the chaos of new market forces may open new opportunities in your ecosystem to reposition in the new normal, for example the rise of telehealth and virtual care which will be here to stay. To grasp those opportunities and deliver better patient and health outcomes, you must be able to measure the effectiveness of your services (or run the risk of investing in ineffective solutions). You need to create a cohesive patient experience, addressing unmet needs, and ensure the services you provide correlate with improved patient and health outcomes.

Evolving health provider roles and priorities

Providers must seek approaches that alleviate the burden on patients. The importance of an end-to-end view—a single source of truth—for patient journeys, cannot be overstated. This data is the foundation for patient experience improvement and measurement.

There are many ways to address these challenges and opportunities. One is to go it alone and try to do everything internally. A second is to embrace open innovation in the digital health ecosystem to help maximise value in terms of improved patient experiences and health outcomes. The second approach will not only deliver more holistic experiences but will also enable accurate outcome measurement. We see several new healthcare business models emerging, or being accelerated, to address unmet needs in the current paradigm:

  1. The new service provider: Design and provision healthcare products or services to support patients seeking treatment to prevent, alleviate, cure, or heal illness by:
    • Deploying solutions close to patients, patient organisations or community support groups to measure real-time impact.
    • Collecting data and continuously evaluating service activity to inform continuous improvement and measure social / system impact.
    • Providing high-level service navigation to help people understand their options, and how to access them.
  2. The knowledge catalyst: Deliver evidence-informed support services that improve health system outcomes through:
    • Knowledge translation and exchange—supporting organisations by translating research into clinical practices.
    • Research collaborations—working with other organisations to co-fund research programs.
  3. Policy advocate: Shape public policy that improves health outcomes, and deliver value through prevention by:
    • Developing policy proposals, leveraging experience in service delivery, research, and partner organisations.
    • Responding to government inquiries / consultation processes.
    • Developing and delivering advocacy strategies to ensure the policy proposals result in policy change.
  4. Solution incubator: Identify ideas and shape solutions to address unmet needs within the health ecosystem by:
    • Gathering insights from across the healthcare ecosystem and broader community on solutions best suited to address the problem.
    • Iteratively incubate, develop and test solutions to maximise impact and address unmet needs—decision to transition to partners, or exit, to follow.
  5. Information platform: Connect the healthcare community to a curated source of information, tools and to other service providers through:
    • Content and tool aggregation / curation, rather than creation.
    • Managing partners on the platform to ensure a seamless experience for the end user, and to avoid an overlap and a “swamp” of tools and content.
    • Efficiently and strategically guide users into the appropriate service, e.g. seamless access to required content and service provision.

Healthcare providers need to think beyond creating a seamless healthcare stakeholder experience. They need to think about building entirely new experiences. Healthcare models of the future require coherent, end-to-end experiences. That means harnessing the very best of a collaborative ecosystem to enable measurable health outcomes.

It’s time to start working in harmony to improve patient experiences and differentiated outcomes. The key to success? As a starting point, look at the ecosystem you are operating in. Where are the gaps, and what are the unmet needs?  Then evaluate how to position your business model for the future. Have comments, criticisms or other thoughts? I welcome your engagement. Please reach out to me at any time.

Disclaimer: Special thanks to Neill Roesen and Avishay Kumar for their contributions.

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Christian Nejm​

Healthcare Business Strategy Expert​​

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