There’s no doubt that health organisations have been under unprecedented pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. But for Singapore, the pressure will not ease even after the pandemic has subsided. With an ageing population that will see one in five over the age of 65 by 2030, the demands on healthcare are only set to increase.

Rising demand

The healthcare sector must find ways to be more innovative in meeting rising demand. The question is how? The good news is that many of the tools required to change are already available. Using rather simple and low code technology, it’s possible to find new ways to connect with patients, more efficiently and faster. For example, video calling and using mobile apps can extend new channels to patients that will increase access and efficiency without diminishing the care and support that patients are able to receive.

One of the five key trends – I, Technologist –  in Accenture’s Health Technology Vision 2021 is all about how healthcare organisations can democratise technology in order to enable innovation to flourish everywhere. That means no longer having to rely solely on the IT team, but instead empowering individuals to develop their own solutions to address the challenges they face. 

Embracing Change

But to make the change a reality requires a shift in mindset and behaviour. That requires a couple of key ingredients. First is the commitment to train people in the right technologies. And that’s something that 84% of healthcare executives say is a priority for them. They need to train people to adopt and use technology solutions without the need for highly technical skills. This has to be a commitment that comes from the top of the organisation, with a willingness to help people overcome the fear of using technology.

Innovating without fear

Second, leaders need to create a culture of innovation. So that means providing an environment where people are unafraid to experiment, learn about using technology and integrate it into their own day-to-day work.  That, in turn, requires change agents who can guide people through the process of harnessing technology in their day-to-day work. It’s important to stress that these don’t have to be cutting edge technologies. Using voice assistants and image recognition, for instance, could create a new way for patients and their carers to communicate and access basic information, for example about medications.

Of course, the next phase of this is extending technology to patients, too. That not only enables patients to take more control of monitoring their own conditions, but the use of smart device and wearables could also be a source of valuable health data that can be used to understand patients’ health better, improve service delivery and result in better health outcomes.

Maintaining change momentum

COVID has already accelerated the adoption of new technologies. For example, there’s been a rapid increase in the use of telemedicine as face-to-face channels became unavailable. It’s vital that this momentum is kept up. For Singapore, successfully tackling the health challenges of an ageing population will demand ever-greater innovation to deliver the highest standards of care as efficiently as possible. Making sure that as many patients and health workers as possible are empowered to make their own contribution by working smarter with technology is a must-do priority for healthcare executives.  I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, do reach out.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services — all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 569,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Denise Lin

Managing Director – Consulting, Health & Public Service, Southeast Asia

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