The pandemic has exposed weaknesses, including access issues, inability to meet demand surges, supply chain hurdles, and quality and cost challenges. It has shown that steadfast focus on what’s easiest to measure—healthcare costs and efficiency—has resulted in an ecosystem that lacks the agility to respond to this kind of crisis.
And yet, the pandemic also has provided real-world, proof-of-concepts of new approaches that provide meaningful value—from deploying bots to support healthcare delivery to using platforms to enable global scientific collaboration. While changes in federal policy have led to record-setting adoption of virtual health.
Above all, COVID-19 has shown why—and how—to accelerate the future of health to improve the wellness of the U.S. population and protect national readiness. Federal agencies have a critical role in bringing this vision to life.
"The event horizon for telehealth and virtual health has been cut in half, opening more opportunities to deliver high-quality, personalized health."
— RON MOODY, MD, Chief Medical Officer – Accenture Federal Services
The future of health is innovative
COVID-19 has provided a glimpse of what’s possible with truly innovative changes in how care is delivered.Robots are helping take patients’ vitals and support dietary and sanitation services in field hospitals. Robotic process automation is streamlining pre-screening and reporting activities for COVID-19 testing. Moreover, remote visits between patients and healthcare providers exploded during stay-at-home orders.
Facing a surge in unemployment claims during the COVID-19 outbreak, state workforce agencies have deployed chatbots to answer questions and guide claimants through the application process. This ability to scale AI to support unemployment claims underscores the potential for chatbots and other forms of conversational AI to support healthcare interactions.
Virtual care at VA
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a surge in telehealth visits, online refills, and health app adoption among Veterans.
Video telehealth visits during the last week of August 2020.
Increase in telehealth visits from March to August 2020.
Veterans across the country are now using a tablet to access care when and where needed.
What if we enabled global scientific collaboration in pursuit of cures for other diseases?
The future of health is collaborative
The shared mission of halting COVID-19 has fueled collaboration across institutional and geographic boundaries as scientists race to develop vaccines and treatments.
For example, the nonprofit TransCelerate BioPharma is a collaboration of 20 of the largest biopharma companies. It helps enable collaboration across the research and development community to identify, prioritize, design, and facilitate the implementation of solutions to drive efficient, effective, and high-quality delivery of new medicines.
During the pandemic, TransCelerate has made its DataCelerate® platform available to biopharma and biomedical researchers around the globe. Built on the Accenture Insights Platform (AIP), DataCelerate allows for multiple de-identified research and development data types to be voluntarily submitted, uploaded, converted, harmonized, and downloaded through an access-controlled, secured environment. It enables users to quickly develop translational insights across the research and development continuum.
The future of health is inclusive
CDC data has shown that people of color are becoming ill and dying from COVID-19 at a disproportionately high rate. Even before the pandemic, these communities were similarly hard hit by other chronic conditions, including cardiac disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
Researchers believe that social determinants of health (SDOH) contribute up to 80 percent of outcomes. In other words, what happens in clinical settings contributes to health outcomes, but what really matters is where people are born, live, work, and age.
Understanding SDOH can help identify and deliver what each person—including those in vulnerable populations—truly needs to be healthy.
Let’s get started together. Now is the time for more innovation, collaboration, and inclusion in how we deliver healthcare and advance outcomes.