We live in a world where our daily touchpoints today start with APPS like Netflix , UBER , GRAB , AMAZAON , PAYTM etc….This era brings in a massive mindset change from ownership to pay per use model, relationship driven brick and mortar transactions to ecommerce , etc .All of these consumers centric innovations driving the change in how we buy and sell services is possible because of smartphone penetration and cost of internet which has gone down drastically in the last decade….Healthcare is no different from any other industry now …These WINDS of CHANGE which has seasoned our minds to the model of on demand , pay per use models , Access anywhere anytime and hence we now expect the same with healthcare and we are already seeing some models emerging for GP and Primary healthcare ..
But if we try to dig deeper, healthcare is probably not as simple because of various other industries that merge in or touch healthcare services like Insurance, Pharmacies, Diagnostics labs, Hospitals, Clinics, Ambulances and a few more perhaps …Each of these industries have their own nuances because of local regulations, service delivery models, supply chain and distribution.
Let’s try and segment these players in three different buckets and some key drivers: -
Patients: This is one segment where customer service lacks like other industries treat their customers. Patients today are more aware and desperate to take control on their own health decisions. There is more information available than ever before but its still not personalized to drive actions based on the available information.
Providers: With increasing percentage of ageing population, providers are overwhelmed with increased demand for services. Hospitals, Clinics, Diagnostic labs, Pharmacies, Caregivers all trying to do more with less, but they are still dealing with a lot of constraints like shortage of caregiver or qualified doctors, scattered patient data and of course lack of infrastructure.
Payers: These are mainly government or Insurance companies which are grappling with increasing healthcare cost and ageing population. Governments across globe are working to manage the healthcare cost and have started taking several measures starting with centralized EHR systems as part of their smart city initiatives, which is a major initiative to reduce the burden of collecting and maintaining patient data from the providers. Insurance companies are also welcoming these initiatives as it helps them to personalize health insurance premiums and have more predictability. But all said and done, it still requires building and maintaining these centralized systems and upgrading them as the technology advances.
Ecosystem connectivity will play a key role in delivering predictive care at RIGHT TIME-RIGHT PLACE
Going back to where we started this blog talking about Netflix, Uber etc and let’s look at how can we connect the dots to get this healthcare ecosystem to function in a similar fashion by transferring the power back in the hands of the patient’s smartphone. This will not just reduce the burden on providers or payers of creating and managing patient data but at the same time also make healthcare more personalized to fit the specific need of individual patients.
Image 1 : Predictive and preventive care model
We are currently in a curative care model where in a patient falls sick and then approaches a doctor to find a cure but there is another model of predictive care where in the person has been going through some stress lately at work and experiences some signs of headache , fatigue etc and proactively get a call from a caregiver alerting him of his health condition and advising him to get further tests done to double check on his symptoms before it gets worse like a heart attack.
Predictive care model is considered as the basis for targeted preventive measures and consequent development of individualized treatment approaches. Of paramount importance is the communication network among the healthcare ecosystem payer and providers – medical doctors, biotechnologists, diagnostic labs, healthcare providers, policy-makers, Ambulances , elderly care , insurers – who are involved in the paradigm change from curative to predictive medicine. This is a new philosophy in healthcare and the platform for personalized patient’s treatment, which will form the basis of future medical care.