Head of Healthcare Initiatives, World Economic Forum
As we emerge from the pandemic, we must watch emerging healthcare trends closely and their potential impact across the globe.
Around the world, the status quo is shifting – mounting consumer expectations, and widespread staffing shortages and burnout continue to make headlines. The healthcare sector’s time, resources and attention have been dominated by an ongoing global pandemic which is now entering its third year.
The future of healthcare hinges upon how leaders can rapidly adapt to the much-needed industry transformation and for everyone to consider new solutions to how, where and by whom care is delivered.
Across the sector, the World Economic Forum is watching three trends that showcase how the future of health and healthcare is already taking shape:
1. Increased investment in digital technologies
Digital is at the core. The rapid shift to digital tools during the heights of the pandemic opened pathways to reach more patients in new ways. From at-home visits on smartphones to remote screenings, the industry saw it could unlock more inclusive and accessible care.
Fourth industrial revolution technologies such as AI and machine learning continue to speed the discovery of new drugs and therapeutics to support better patient outcomes. Early-stage screenings and diagnoses for many types of cancer and finding new treatments for previously incurable conditions offer new frontiers for patients and their families.
From at-home visits on smartphones to remote screenings, the industry saw it could unlock more inclusive and accessible care.
2. New opportunities for collaboration and partnership
The widespread collaboration from the scientific community, coupled with government support for financing and private sector investment, provides lessons learned on how to support swift responses and solutions to global health crises.
Similar partnerships can continue to take shape to solve many of the other barriers, from supply chain challenges, to equitable vaccine distribution, to providing care in the face of migration crises. The growing interconnectedness of our systems require actors to come together and for those from outside of the health and healthcare sector to think about the role they play in finding solutions.
3. A renewed focus on sustainability and new models of care
Health systems globally buckled under the pressures of the pandemic and pre-existing weaknesses were further exposed. Over 90% reported disruptions to essential care and services globally.
New thinking and investments are required to move away from fee-based services models to an outcome-based system that ensures longer-term benefits to both patients and providers. This requires continued focus on strong policies and partnerships between delivery systems and governments for better care and outcomes for individuals.