Hospital CEOs aim tech investments at consumer engagement

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New research from Deloitte finds healthcare CEOs shifting their focus and investments toward consumer engagement technologies, virtual health and care coordination.

Deloitte interviewed leaders at 25 health systems and six health plans to assess their changing responsibilities and roles to effect change.

That change includes shifts in care settings, adoption of value-based payment models and an increase in the demands of proactive health consumers.

“The industry change that CEOs are witnessing reflects our predictions of a more consumer-centered future of health,” says Michael Main, managing director at Deloitte Consulting. Consumers want to take control of their health—they have been responding well to virtual care visits and are interested in tools that make their experience personalized, affordable and convenient.

Here is a look at changes to come:

* CEOs are starting to deepen partnerships and working with the entire health ecosystem that includes providers, insurers, schools, public health agencies and community organizations to expand their reach into these entities and be able to influence them, according to Deloitte.

* Partnerships will become critical as during the next 20 years advances in medicine and technology, competition to engage patients and consumers, increasing interoperability of all health data, new regulations and new entrants reshape the industry.

* Health organizations that invest in engagement, virtual health and care coordination will be best positioned for these next 20 years regardless of whether reimbursement shifts toward value-based payment models or not. Even if all the changes don’t materialize providers at the forefront will have an edge when it comes to consumers and loyalty.

* Some CEOs are pushing better efficiency and quality by pilot testing remote monitoring for chronic care populations and implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic automation.

One health plan CEO told Deloitte, “We are going to steal from companies we admire and bring them into health care. Why can’t we be like the large wholesale retailers? Why can’t we be like the TV and movie streaming services companies?”

Another CEO told the firm that successful providers and payers will have a distributed large-scale platform of physical locations that will be physician and ambulatory-focused.

“However, they also must have a very large digital platform and digital capabilities, and keep digital relationships, the CEO explained. We think the organizations of the future are going to have to have both, not just one or the other.”

* For now, however, the basics of integrating, curating and leveraging interoperability is yet to be complete and that work remains important to prepare for the future.

CEOs are focusing on agile attributes such, as diversity, culture, cloud and much shorter strategic planning cycles to get ahead of others. Deloitte reports that many surveyed CEOs say this was their top focus along with changes to governance and decision-making.
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