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The Global Healthcare Industry in the Year 2020

Healthcare is poised for big changes over the next several years. Will medtech companies be ready?

The global healthcare industry in the year 2020 will be a highly connected environment powered by large data networks, cloud computing, and mobile devices. There will be widespread increases in the number of connected healthcare networks providing seamless integration between care providers, patients, pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, and other invested parties anywhere in the world. Care within this model will become more patient-centric, less expensive to provide, and more innovative. Accenture explores this topic in a new report, “Shaping a Future-proof Business Strategy in the Fast-Moving Medical Equipment Technology Industry." 

Changes in the healthcare industry are being driven by a new set of industry needs. For the past several years, critics have labeled the healthcare industry a broken system. But positive steps are being made by federal agencies and providers from around the world to correct the problems.

Regulatory pressure is being exerted to deliver cost-effective healthcare that produces positive outcomes. Wide-ranging demographic changes are also occurring in this space. For example, emerging markets provide new growth opportunities while an aging population requires a new focus on chronic diseases. At the same time, patient preferences have matured. Patients are demanding more personalized medicine and an active role in the care they receive. New patient-centric service models will become paramount and pervasive.

Modern advances in technology are capable of accelerating the medtech industry ahead of these trends. These include integrated communication networks that facilitate remote delivery of health services. Cloud computing and machine-to-machine innovations now provide an easy launching point for getting these networks online. The year 2020 will bring a better healthcare world, but the industry needs to start laying the foundation now. Accenture has identified a three-phase approach to help medical technology providers effectively reengineer their current business strategies to deliver connected healthcare in 2020.

Horizon Scan 2020+

Providers should first conduct a horizon scan to determine what the future medtech landscape will look like going forward. A senior management team with knowledge in various disciplines should study the potential that the following technologies will deliver to their profit margins: new healthcare eco-systems; distributed imaging systems; distributed diagnostics, global shared diagnostics services models, global devices portals, handheld imaging and diagnostic systemsm clinical decision support hubs, fully integrated micromonitoring, and health system solutions.

These medical technology providers should then do secondary research to identify relevant markets, environments, and competitive trends. Workshops with various experts in multiple regionsare ideal venues for conducting this research, which should be transparent and collaborative. Engaging all parties within the healthcare ecosystem should produce disruptive strategies for igniting future revenue growth.

Disruption and Engagement

During this phase, insight and output on the future direction of the healthcare industry are collected and prioritized for further refinement. Again, open workshops help develop breakthrough disruptive platforms that can best execute these ideas. From that list, the appropriate solution platform for that company will be chosen and honed into an executable innovation concept. This concept should encompass a solution, the proposition, and the estimated windfall the concept will return to the company.

Putting Innovation into Action

After studying the healthcare industry and generating disruptive strategies in response, this next stage consolidates everything together into an actionable innovation plan. Experts vet the innovation concept considering the implications it will have on the company’s strategic vision and positioning, for better or worse. After that, winning tactics for executing the concept should be drafted. A deployment team, backed with the blessing of senior management, pushes these tactics through and confirms deadlines are met. In the course of its duty, the team may find it lacks the in-house capabilities to execute on specific parts of its mandate, in which case having an extended network of specialized skills would be an ideal resource from which to pull. Once the team has begun implementing its global healthcare 2020 strategy, regular meetings with a senior management team should be arranged. Involvement of senior management confirms new innovations and processes will take hold in the company.

Armin Meissner is a global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics & High-Tech Group. He leads the group’s medical equipment technology practice and can be reached at [email protected].

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