• Examining healthcare industry challenges and how healthcare systems are at risk of being overwhelmed by current and future crises

  • Why historic business approaches are unlikely to be effective

Waves of crises related to service access and demand, workforce shortages and staff burnout and climate pressures are pummeling healthcare organizations in many jurisdictions. It’s easy to blame COVID-19 but beneath the surface, these undercurrents were already impacting health systems long before the pandemic: aging and growing populations, increased non-communicable disease burden, economic inequality, reliance on outdated technology, coupled with long-standing workforce supply and wellbeing issues.

When looking towards the future horizons of healthcare, the pandemic will likely prove to be just the first of several successive waves of crises that may include a looming global recession on top of COVID response-related debt, geopolitical instability, climate change disasters, mass migration, and the cost of next-generation treatments, to mention a few.

Globally, healthcare systems are at risk of being overwhelmed by crisis waves, and senior leaders in health systems (being providers, payors or governments) are under immense pressure to take action. News reports around the world have been drawing attention to the crises and often call for solutions related to “more money,” “training more healthcare professionals,” or “recruiting more foreign-trained nurses.” The issue is that these historic approaches may have worked in the past but are unlikely to be effective in navigating the magnitude of the coming challenges.

Key takeaways

To build resilience into their organizations, health leaders should carefully consider how the successive waves of crises and pre-existing undercurrents will impact their organizations and factor these circumstances into their investment and planning approaches.