Necessity is the mother of invention, and it has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic at unprecedented speed on a scale never seen before.
The consumer experience in health and life sciences has been slow to evolve—for patients, informal caregivers, healthcare professionals (HCPs) and researchers. But the wave of innovation and experimentation unleashed by COVID-19 and enabled by technology is accelerating changes that have been gathering pace for some time. A crucial component is a broad-based openness and acceptance of new models for screening, diagnosing, treating and delivering care among industry professionals and consumers alike.
The underlying trends now amplified and accelerated driving this reimagination fall into two broad categories.
A broad consumerization of health is underway, fueled by increasingly sophisticated consumer devices and relatively affordable and accessible technology. With this comes new expectations of ease of use, convenience, portability, safety and an orientation around the individual rather than around the system and its often-outdated processes. Virtual care is increasingly common and rapidly becoming the preferred method of interaction for patients, informal caregivers and HCPs. Appreciation of the fundamental role that behavioral health plays in health outcomes is also growing.
Digital technology has become core to an organization, and sophisticated technology is becoming more accessible, affordable and enables broad-based innovation. The healthcare ecosystem is changing with new entrants, new digital disruptors and new partnerships. However, the health and life sciences industries are now in the midst of a trust and transparency dilemma, and there is a continuing challenge around how to turn data into actionable and meaningful insights which can drive positive outcomes. A focus on social determinants of health is also changing opinion and influencing policy and regulations.