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  • Looking at how healthcare industry challenges may impact business models

  • Predicting outcomes related to maintaining “business as usual” or incremental approaches to change, technology-only or inclusive approaches to transformation

At KPMG, we see healthcare leaders struggling to keep their organizations afloat amid healthcare’s perfect storm of pre-pandemic undercurrents and successive waves of crises and would like to extend a helping hand in the form of insights. When projecting where the storm will leave healthcare, we foresee three possible scenarios:


Under an ‘impoverished’ scenario, health systems attempt to continue ‘business as usual,’ adopting only marginal change in the form of data-driven, personalized care, activating communities and reforming health workforces. The outcome of this scenario is that organizations are likely to become overwhelmed by rising service demands, costs and expectations, which may result in varying degrees of system collapse or long-term declines in care quality and population health. 


Under this scenario health systems undergo radical technological transformation. Care is data-driven and highly personalized using wearables, patient-owned data, and Internet of Things-based tech, and services are delivered via the metaverse. Although technology holds much promise in solutions for the future, if this technological shift is not accompanied with equal transformation of the ‘people’ side of healthcare – health workers and communities – this scenario likely results in two-tier health systems of digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ alienating many patient groups and exacerbating health inequalities. Implementation of technological solutions without working closely with clinical staff may also over-stretch workforces and limit their ability to engage with patients. 


An ‘inclusive’ scenario is one in which healthcare organizations thrive and entire populations benefit from improved health and care. In this scenario, technology sends power downwards to transform individuals and communities in a more fundamental way. Technology is seen as a means to an end – activating patients in their own care, enabling healthcare workers to better engage with patients, and empowering communities to address health inequity issues and employ more preventative approaches. 

Navigating towards inclusive care 

At KPMG, we feel that a fundamental change in course is needed in the ways healthcare systems and organizations are operated in order to realize the preferred inclusive scenario for the future. Action is needed now in order to address challenges and design the healthcare models populations will have in 5 to 10 years’ time.

Our Healthcare Horizons insights are based on the view that technological innovation is essential for the future of healthcare, but in isolation will not ‘save the day.’ Hence, we offer a synergetic vision where we focus on the equally important aspects of innovation in how communities can become active custodians of care and how health professionals can fundamentally transform the way they work. It is these human capital dimensions that can enable the benefits of digital- and data-driven healthcare to extend to those who stand to benefit most. When leveraged together, technology, communities and workforces can mutually be the agents of change that are needed for healthcare.

In our view ‘inclusive’ healthcare systems in the future are possible but will require a radical amount of change that is at least equal to that delivered by health systems during the pandemic. Transformation of such magnitude will require strong collaboration at the ecosystem level between all stakeholders, including governments, public and private providers, healthcare payors and industry groups. These groups should come together to take collective responsibility. To start this process, health leaders should lift their attention up from the immediate day-to-day concerns of their organizations and well beyond the typical one- or four-year business planning cycles, towards the crises and future trends speeding towards them.

Key takeaways

Given the current and future challenges that the healthcare sector is facing globally, a fundamental change in course is needed in the ways healthcare systems and organizations are operated. An inclusive future may only be achieved if the current approaches to technology, communities and workforces are fundamentally transformed over the next decade. This change can only happen if all stakeholders commit to collaboration, collective responsibility and are willing to break out of traditional silos.


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