Reimagining care: How digital can transform healthcare and improve efficiencies

by Vincent Planat, DXC and Antoine Denis, Microsoft

For those in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, there’s much to celebrate about the future of healthcare: We’re living longer, scientists are constantly discovering new pathologies — leading to new treatments and cures — and technology is creating new pathways to address the way care is managed.

But with the good news come significant challenges: We’re battling a shortage of healthcare professionals. We’re also spending a large amount of gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare. In France, the expenditure is 11.6 percent of GDP, and the healthcare budget has been in the red for many years. And as the population ages — a phenomenon that France faces in the near future the costs of care are only going to increase.

In this environment, doctors have less time to spend with patients, which affects quality of care. Moreover, efficiency and the costs of diagnostics and treatment are affected by care duplication, where patients often take the same test more than once and repeat the same information to different specialists.

Pharmaceutical companies, meanwhile, are pressured to improve productivity and cost savings across the product life cycle. To do so, they must enhance launch planning and drug tracking so that they gain insights into current and predicted treatment outcomes. They must also demonstrate both the safety and added value of their products in the face of brand challenges and deal with potential loss of revenue amid tighter reimbursement requirements.

Insurers or payers also must adjust to the changing environment by creating customer profiles that reflect patient concerns and expectations, clinical needs, and preferences.

All the while, healthcare confronts a raft of technical solutions, each typically disconnected from other parts of the healthcare continuum. Decision makers struggle to determine what makes the most sense for their particular situation or how to rationalize their platforms for greater continuity and better productivity.

It would be disingenuous to suggest there is an easy answer to the pervasive issues that healthcare faces, but there are undoubtedly ways to simplify many challenges. For one thing, there’s no doubt that digital transformation, including artificial intelligence (AI), can improve the coordination of care across all aspects of healthcare — practitioners, payers and the pharmaceutical industry — and deliver insights that can help with prediction and personalized treatment.

Continuum of care

Properly leveraging all of the technologies now available to the broader healthcare network can simplify patient care across the continuum.

One aspect of care coordination is what happens to the patient from the point of care, such as the hospital, to the home. Digital transformation can facilitate efficient communication and involvement of the entire care team. Care team members can be alerted to gaps in care and can provide support and intervention as needed and in near real time. For example, if a patient has a fall after leaving the hospital, a digitally driven personalized care and chronic disease management solution could alert the patient’s care manager to follow up with a specific doctor. A complete, 360-degree care coordination approach encompasses everyone invested in the patient’s care and recovery, including family and friends.

Analytics improve outcomes

The other area where digital transformation offers significant potential for improving healthcare outcomes and driving personalized care is analytics. All stakeholders need better ways to report and predict.

For healthcare providers, analytics can help identify the risk of chronic disease, support decisions, and determine the effectiveness of diagnostics in preventing disease or driving early intervention and treatment.

Analytics gives the pharmaceutical industry real-world evidence from multiple sources of patient data that can be used to personalize patient treatment and thereby improve effectiveness and cost efficiency. These insights can also help to improve drug development and trial recruitment processes.

Finally, for the insurance industry, accessing more extensive patient data through AI makes it possible to personalize service based on qualifying patient risks and benefits.

Overcoming the hurdles

While the capabilities are there, the broader healthcare industry must overcome some significant hurdles, including the difficulties created by complex datasets and regulatory requirements. Even more complicated is the fact that healthcare involves the human body, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about how it works. It was only recently, for example, that scientists discovered the gut-brain axis, a communication network between the gut and the brain.

We also need to consider perceptions and distrust about digital transformation. After all, healthcare deals with truly personal data, and all stakeholders are highly sensitive to this fact. Digital transformation needs to account for these concerns and ensure that it provides a solution which is both well-received and efficient. Ultimately, the goals need to be improving patient care and satisfaction across the continuum.


Vincent Planat is a technologist with DXC’s Healthcare and Life Sciences group. He has more than 20 years of experience in various strategic engineering, pre-sales and business-development positions. Vincent’s primary focus is on Telecom OSS, core-network signaling and architecture. Projects extended this expertise to mobility, application-security and IoT for Big-data fields. He is now fully dedicated to working with healthcare and life sciences organizations on their digital transformation.

Antoine Denis is the director of Healthcare, Payors and Life Sciences Solutions at Microsoft France. He has strong experience in healthcare and digital transformation, leading a large ecosystem of partners. In healthcare, Microsoft provides partners the best services and platform through trusted and secure cloud hyperscale to empower people and organizations to their personalized health journey.

 

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