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The entire healthcare ecosystem is feeling the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, payers and providers need their vendors to become true partners, working together to solve unprecedented problems.
As events unfolded, a spotlight focused on the delivery of critical services, equipment, supplies and information, when and where they are needed. Answering the calls of clients in need, Accenture has helped healthcare organizations deal with changes in demand and shortages of critical personnel, equipment and supplies.
In times of crisis, a resilient supply chain for medical equipment becomes more important than ever. As needs escalated in March 2020, Brazil was running short of critical medical items, especially ventilators. An AI-enabled procurement solution and management dashboard helped government officials to clearly understand what was needed and identify nontraditional sources to fill it—all in record time. The system was in place in 48 hours. And in a matter of weeks, the country identified more than 90 suppliers and procured an additional 15,000 ventilators.
As the market changed, a medical device company found that its products were suddenly in much greater demand, straining its production capabilities. In just two days, Accenture specialists analyzed the higher demand, potential supply issues, and the impact of both on inventory levels to show the effect on its cash. This helped the company to control production, enhance inventory, and mitigate a negative impact on cash flow. It also gave executives confidence in their strategic decisions for short-term survival and long-term growth.
Healthcare payers also need good partners
COVID hit Payers squarely on the cheek – needing to mobilize thousands of employees to work from home. Partners stepped up to facilitate the moves and absorb functions in need of support. With Healthcare payers already under significant pressure from a rapidly changing industry, the current crisis increased the need to adapt. Business Process Services (BPS), which support payers at every level, already deliver significant value through process automation. However, when a BPS vendor aligns their goals with the client, integrating end-to-end processes, it can optimize an entire business function and transform multiple operations –product development, membership, claims, provider networks, utilization management, risk, HEDIS and population health.
Accenture is strongly positioned in the healthcare payer BPS market and has recently been named a leader in the Everest Group Healthcare Operations PEAK Matrix Assessment for 20201. This report names Accenture the overall leader in vision and capability. Everest wrote that “Referenced buyers have praised Accenture’s healthcare domain expertise and the proactiveness of its high-level executives.”1
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Caption: Everest Group Healthcare Payer Operations-Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2020
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Acknowledging the trend toward mergers and acquisitions among payers and the resulting desire to consolidate service provider relationships, Everest recognizes Accenture’s balanced offerings portfolio as “highly suited for strategic partnerships with payer clients.”1
A focus on business outcomes
To become a true partner, the organizations’ goals should be aligned. Accenture supports payers and providers in developing their own ‘path to risk,’ and then contractually commits to measurable business outcomes. As value-based care models become more common, care management has become a key outsourcing segment for payers. We are shifting the thinking from episodic-based healthcare to holistic healthcare, positioning organizations well to take on the risk of the entire population. Everest highlighted Accenture’s significant expansion of its care management operations, as well as strong digital capabilities in areas such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.
As a leader in among healthcare BPS providers, Accenture is collaborating with healthcare payers to mitigate the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time for a digital transformation that would position them for continued resilience and growth as the healthcare industry emerges from this crisis into the new normal.
Health’s NewFUTURE for technology
COVID-19 has exacerbated industry realities and brought about new human truths that impact all strategies going forward. The crisis has also left its mark on people, challenging feelings of safety and influencing behaviors. Keeping your distance is the new normal and telemedicine is experiencing unprecedented growth. A new strategic framework is necessary to outmaneuver uncertainty and create a resilient health ecosystem that empowers consumers and providers to feel safe, secure and confident.
As the future unfolds, healthcare organizations can seize this moment and earn trust. Embarking on the NewFUTURE could require a measured path, guided by strategic leadership and propelled by technology and innovation.2
A health insurer can quickly generate value by becoming an Intelligent Payer. Using AI to impact capability, culture and change, the payer can retain and attract talent, redefine traditional work and source innovation with a potential increase in operating income of 10 to 15 percent in 18 months.3
Now is the time to shape a mindset of bold business transformation powered by new approaches to technology and responsible leadership. Our offerings in digital health, operational transformation, consumer experience and high impact consulting help companies deliver personalized, efficient and informed care.
 ©Everest Global, Inc. Healthcare Payer Operations PEAK Matrix™ Assessment, 2020: Report by Manu Aggarwal and Ankur Verma, June 2020.
 Health’s NewFUTURE: How leaders can outmaneuver uncertainty
 Intelligent Payer < https://www.accenture.com/us-en/services/health/intelligent-health-payer>