The composition of the workforce is changing. Digital has generated a more fluid workforce that can go where help is needed. Have a sick child? Digital services allow you to Skype with a paediatrician. Struggling with a high-risk pregnancy issue? Through virtual technology, a specialist in New York can treat an ailing patient in New Mexico.
Embracing the change
This emergent fluidity and flexibility is an adjustment for most healthcare organisations. Therefore, it requires some fundamental shifts in how the enterprise is structured, how people are trained and how the culture adapts to new technology-enabled ways of working. Today’s liquid workforce wants a new kind of work life that fulfils their desires for tailored experiences and personal connections. Automation can free up workers to build critical skills and grow. And, rather than spending time on the routine, they can focus on more meaningful work that requires judgment and personal interaction.
These workforce changes come with benefits. Continuous skill development allows organisations to launch innovations and differentiated services faster. Health plans can use crowdsourcing to hear from innovators and entrepreneurs who can deliver solutions that improve the consumer experience. With greater diversity of treatment options, health plans are making positive changes, such as reimbursing for virtual visits. And, virtual care gives patients the convenient and accessible care they want, when and where they want it.
UnitedHealth Group's Garage: An innovation engine
UnitedHealth Group’s Garage program aims to identify, nurture and accelerate innovative internal business ideas that lead to new health businesses, products and services.
The Garage focuses on a small, discrete portfolio of seed-stage ideas, putting them through a disciplined process designed to validate and test business concepts and provide paths to commercialization. Dedicated “entrepreneurs in residence” are matched to ideas based on their own knowledge, talent and passion.
Current ideas in development include a solution to help employees make better choices about what foods they choose, and a program that supports parents of children diagnosed with ADHD with coaching, customised care plans and ongoing support.
Ecosystems are the new bedrock of digital healthcare.