The theme of convergence and making integrated care work resonated throughout the opening day of IDC’s Pan-European Healthcare Executive Summit in Dublin. It's fantastic to see how much collective drive there is amongst the healthcare community to collaborate and be more flexible to achieve this paradigm shift which will help to deliver innovative, safer and sustainable care.
Major Healthcare Challenges Today
As the foundation sponsor keynote speaker I thought it was important to set the scene to understand the challenges that lie ahead if we are to truly push forward with a more integrated system of healthcare delivery. And I wanted to share that with you here too. I see 4 major issues in global health today:
- Ageing Population1 - 2bn people over 60 years old by 2050
- Medical Inflation2 - 50% increase in worldwide health costs by 2020
- Consumerism3- Increasingly engaged patients via apps, device, wearables, etc
- Worker Shortage4 - 4.3m global shortfall of doctors and nurses today
All of these issues are interconnected, for example, an ageing population highlights the need for us to robustly tackle chronic conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory disease and dementia, which are soaking up healthcare resources. I've talked previously of how the changing narrative of care can help to reduce healthcare costs but it's integration and collaboration across the entire healthcare ecosystem that will accelerate change.
The Foundations to Deliver Precision Medicine
Technology can help us to move towards a pervasive, continuous notion of healthcare by interconnecting all of the players which deliver health and well-being to the population. Think not just of primary care, but of community/home care too, throw lifestyle and environment into the mix alongside omic profiling and we begin to create the foundations to deliver precision medicine at the bedside.
I think we'd all agree that the quality of life of a patient is enhanced when they enjoy independent healthy living - it's also more cost-effective for healthcare providers too. Integrated care means that the patient benefits from a fully-joined up approach from providers, care is seamless so that time in hospital is kept to a minimum and patients and carers are armed with the right support to prevent readmissions.
The obvious example (and one where some countries such as Sweden are really forging ahead) is easily accessible Electronic Medical Records which can be updated and shared by caregivers across a range of settings to ensure the most up-to-date clinical information is available at the right place and at the right time, but I'm also seeing some fantastic innovations around how the Internet of Things is benefiting both patient and provider too. This is not about future-gazing, this is about prevention rather than cure, using the technology we have available today to join the dots where it has simply been too difficult, costly or, in some cases, impossible to do until now.
Managing Complex Healthcare Ecosystem
I'm always keen to emphasise that the really, really hard stuff is in fact the soft stuff. We have brilliant engineers here at Intel who are doing incredible things to move healthcare forward, but it's changing the perceptions and realities of the players within the healthcare ecosystem that is the big challenge. We must accept that every player should be interconnected, that includes the patient, the payer, the device-maker and the researcher - no single piece of this hugely complex jigsaw should be operating in isolation if we want to collectively reduce costs and better manage those chronic diseases. Business models are changing and relationships are changing, they have to, so it's great to see that conversation playing out so positively here in Dublin this week.
- Find Dr. Lester Russell on LinkedIn
- Internet of Things in Healthcare: MimoCare Case Study
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