Medical device and diagnostics companies making a list of new year resolutions might want to take note of a new trends report published by consulting firm North Highland.
According to the North Highland Beacon 2018: Healthcare and Life Sciences report, cybersecurity and compliance are still top concerns across the healthcare and life sciences sectors, but 86% of leaders surveyed by the firm indicated that transformation and adaptability are the keys to competitiveness.
Cybersecurity was the top strategic priority for the healthcare industry, yet only 25% of survey respondents said they felt very prepared to address it. The report authors speculated that the low levels of confidence in addressing cybersecurity likely stem from nuances regarding personal health information and Internet-enabled medical devices. While cybersecurity must be an actively-managed risk, the authors said it need not be the primary business strategy.
Transforming to be more efficient was cited as a definite competitive advantage by 62% of respondents, and 41% said it was much more important for 2018, but only 31% said they are very prepared to address it.
"While less than a third of healthcare leaders feel prepared to address this challenge, every healthcare company in the world could transform for efficiency," the authors noted. "One of the challenges for this complex sector is that it has not historically been proactive in this realm. A holistic strategy where centers of innovation are communicating effectively would engender a more cohesive execution of transformation."
3. Innovation, IoT, and AI
The survey found that healthcare leaders feel ready to tackle areas that could lead to competitive advantages, such as product enhancement innovation, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence. Despite this readiness, however, respondents indicated that they are focused on other priorities for 2018.
"While leaders may be focused elsewhere, there is an urgency for healthcare companies to use these tools to communicate and engage with customers," the North Highland experts noted. "Healthcare is cumbersome whether consumers are purchasing medicine or medical devices, scheduling appointments, or seeking care or advice."
The report's authors point out that today’s consumers are accustomed to fast and easy mobile shopping and banking served up with proactive customer engagement. "Unless healthcare becomes more hassle-free, people will look for the path of least resistance in how, when, and what they choose for care," they said.
Adapting to changing customer needs and customer centricity was another priority the report uncovered, yet only 21% of those surveyed said they feel very prepared for customer centricity. Respondents called out lack of knowledge or skills, and budget pressures as barriers to adaptability.
"Lack of knowledge and skills is a massive challenge in healthcare. One such challenge is a lack of broad or disruptive thinking," the authors said. "If healthcare leaders consider applying solutions that have made a disruptive impact in other industries, they will find the competitive advantage they are seeking."
The report suggests that healthcare can close the gap on shrinking growth by getting more in tune with what modern-day patients and caregivers need and want.