According to a recent study by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), US health spending has crossed $3.3 trillion in 2016 and this is expected to increase 5.5% annually till 2026. This exuberant expenditure on healthcare is due to a number of factors including an aging population, ever-evolving regulatory requirements, intensified focus on the quality & value of care, and innovative treatments and technologies. To reduce the costs to patients and expenditure on care, providers are in constant pursuit of strategies that can decrease the cost while maintaining the high standards of care. Providers today are in the market to re-invent healthcare by developing and collaborating on new technology tools. They need to up their game and digital transformation is the need of the hour.
Last year bears testament to the growing role of technology in the overall healthcare landscape. Fighting an uphill battle against a common foe – climbing costs, healthcare leaders have started looking at technology as a major ally. Decision-makers understand that as the balance of power shifts towards consumers, they would need all the assistance they can get to even the scales a bit. That is perhaps the reason that AI, Big Data Analytics, Natural Language Processing, Virtual Healthcare, Blockchain are increasingly becoming more than just buzzwords and are finding a place in the mainstream.
Last month, Aetna joined a blockchain initiative hoping to improve data quality and reducing administrative costs. Healthcare organizations striving for size and scale, a few major hospital merger deals grabbed the headlines in 2018, including the deals between Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, and Carolinas Healthcare System and UNC Health Care.
Another major trend last year that set the alarm’s ringing was the forays made by rank outsiders such as Amazon in the healthcare sector. The e-commerce behemoth announced its intentions to disrupt the pharmacy business through its billion-dollar acquisition of an online pharmacy – PillPack. The news alone was enough to shave off $12.8 BN in market value from drugstores CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid. Amazon also opened healthcare clinics for its employees, a feat which was emulated by another tech giant – Apple. Both companies claimed that these are just efforts to provide quality healthcare to employees in-house; however, experts feel there is more to the story than just building friendly employee relations.
A McKinsey study shows that “total EBITDA in the healthcare services and technology market has the potential to increase from $35 billion in 2016 to close to $50 billion in 2021. These figures suggest a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 7%, continuing the trajectory these players have experienced in recent years.”
This is a clear testament of technology revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Advanced analytics, Robotics Process Automation, Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, have radicalized healthcare and through this new opportunities have emerged which were unfathomable in the past. The McKinsey report also states that these upgrades “present important opportunities to address the half a trillion dollars of annual spending resulting from low productivity and waste.” No doubt, the discussion on technology has moved from the confines of the IT department to the CEO board meetings.
At Teleperformance India we constantly invent, adapt and upgrade technologies that can reshape the landscape for healthcare providers. By leveraging best of analytics, technology, and the skills our people, we have supported leading healthcare organizations to run highly agile and value-enabled operations while constantly creating shareholder returns and exceptional patient experience.
Executive Vice President, Teleperformance in India