It’s time for an agile health strategy. Really.

Over the last 2 months, there has been an enormous amount of activity in the global eHealth community, with HIMSS15 in Chicago, the Health Evolution Summit, the American Telemedicine Association Annual Meeting and the Health-IT Expo in Paris. CSC has been at all of them, and we’ve been able to check in with many analysts, influencers and suppliers, plus, of course, talk to a lot of clients.

By Phil Hemmings, Director, Global Industry Marketing, CSC Healthcare and Life Sciences

One of the things that these conversations have made clear for me is that healthcare is genuinely facing unprecedented change. Now, we all know that marketing people and commentators have a tendency to overstate both the rate and impact of change. So why believe us this time? I would identify three factors:

  • “Social” engagement with healthcare has reached a tipping point. This Fortune article about Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, includes the astonishing statistic that 13% of medical appointments are conducted by email.
  • Health has become a marketing tool for consumer products, with the obvious example being the Apple Watch. The killer apps are health-related, and there’s rapid adoption in “mainstream” healthcare.
  • Everyone is talking about chronic conditions now. For instance, in nearly every conversation I had, the issue of diabetes came up.

Against all this change, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Triple Aim remains a powerful summary of what’s important. Better care for individuals, better health for populations, and lower per-capita cost are at the heart of the challenge faced by healthcare providers wherever you go.

One of the other things that came from my conversations is that CSC’s Agile Health strategy seems to be resonating strongly.

It’s very clear that healthcare leaders are looking closely at new models of care, and they’re looking both to embrace consumer technology in those models, and build on next-generation technology to deliver them.

It’s also clear that healthcare CIOs are committed to modernizing their IT environments, freeing up people and budget to focus on innovation. Last year, CSC’s Global CIO Survey found that 74% of healthcare CIOs viewed optimizing key IT processes as either critical or very important. This is backed up by our conversations; CIOs see themselves as at the heart of transformation, not as custodians of standard systems.

Everywhere we’ve been there’s also been talk of population health. We’re still at an early stage, and there’s a lot in noise in the system, but the momentum has started. In the UK, we’ve seen a powerful example of this with the Trafford Care Coordination Centre, which provides omni-channel communication for patients, as well as coordinating workflow across the care community. We’ll be talking a lot more about the Trafford model as it rolls out.

Perhaps the key point to take away from 2 months of intense activity is this: there’s broad agreement about what’s important: the shift in emphasis from late stage intervention to early stage health management; and the change to patients becoming active partners in their own health journey.

#AgileHealth

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