Accenture : Digital Heath Technology Vision 2017

November 8, 2017

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The Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2017 explores five trends that underscore the importance of technology for people: AI is the New UI, Ecosystem Power Plays, Workforce Marketplace, Design for Humans and The Uncharted. These trends demonstrate the fact that while technology is all around us, we are at the center.


When we adapt technology to the people that use it in healthcare—health insurers, providers and consumers—we will define the future of healthcare.


Trend 1 : AI is the New UI


It’s a new world where artificial intelligence (AI) is moving beyond a back-end tool for the healthcare enterprise to the forefront of the consumer and clinician experience.


Artificial intelligence is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology experiences with the potential to make every interface both simple and smart – setting a high bar for how future interactions work. Robots are working alongside people. Smart machines are performing triage to augment clinician decision making. Contextual intelligence and deep learning algorithms are raising the bar for transactions and interactions in healthcare. The relationships between healthcare organizations and people will never go away. But AI will play a primary role in making those relationships stronger through new AI-driven services that help curate, advise and orchestrate lifestyle and care for people


Trend 2 : Ecosystem Power Plays


Healthcare enterprises are increasingly integrating their core business functionalities with third parties & their platforms.


But rather than treat them like partnerships of old, forward-thinking healthcare leaders use these relationships to build their role in new digital ecosystems – unlocking their next waves of future growth. As they do, they’re designing future healthcare value chains that will transform their organizations, services, and even the market itself. Healthcare is the sum of many parts. There are systems that pay for, coordinate and deliver care. There are also systems that help people self-manage a lifestyle goal or healthcare condition.


Platforms provide the connected infrastructure that enables service providers and consumers to exchange value, but it’s not enough. Today, healthcare enterprises also need a rich and robust portfolio of digital partners to form their future business ecosystems. These new ecosystems will extend beyond technology to connect the capabilities, expertise and services that touch healthcare organizations, consumers and clinicians. Healthcare organizations that take a leadership role in transformation realize that the strategic platform and ecosystem decisions they make today determine their future success – or lack of it.



Trend 3 : Workforce Marketplace


The future of work has already arrived and is entering the healthcare enterprise.


Healthcare’s digital leaders are beginning to shape strategies to fundamentally reinvent their workforces. Driven by a surge in on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions, legacy models and hierarchies are starting to dissolve and be replaced with open talent marketplaces. The future of work has already arrived and is entering the healthcare enterprise.


This is beginning in the back-office of the healthcare enterprise in corporate functions like technology, finance, human resources, and research and development where there are lower regulatory barriers on the workforce. However, workforce marketplaces are also emerging in select areas of care delivery where open talent platforms connect providers and consumers while confirming regulatory compliance and quality.


Crowdsourcing, labor platforms and virtual care platforms will change the way work is sourced, shared and delivered. Companies now can access more talent from sources outside of traditional employment to get specialized skills when needed. For instance, through online talent platforms, organizations can find people to support technology design and development, finance, human resources and administrative functions. Online platforms make it easier to rapidly match supply and demand of skills to get work done on demand in a decentralized way. This is in contrast with rigid functional hierarchies of traditional healthcare enterprises. When organizations have greater flexibility to adapt as skillset needs change, they will be relevant, competitive and reduce labor expenses. Without a rigid hierarchy, in-house workers will be free to fill roles throughout the enterprise. Supply will be matched with demand like never before.


There are some possibilities for clinical work to be sourced online, but it is more challenging than for back office roles given regulatory barriers from labor laws in healthcare designed to ensure safety. The possibilities for efficiency and productivity are great, but questions remain: How can platforms have market-clearing functions that ensure clinicians are certified, qualified and will deliver quality? How will governance and safety measures work in a digital landscape? How soon will regulatory models evolve to suit a virtual model of care, especially when licensure is local? The rules must catch up because the workforce marketplace is evolving at speed.



Trend 4 : Design for Humans


What if health technology adapted to consumers, clinicians and administrators?


The new frontier of digital experience is technology specifically designed for individual human behavior. Healthcare leaders recognize that as technology shrinks the gap between effective human and machine cooperation, accounting for unique human behavior expands not only the quality of the experience, but also the effectiveness of technology solutions. This shift is transforming traditional personalized relationships into something more valuable: partnerships that span beyond a physical lifestyle or care setting. Healthcare technology will become more human-centered. When technology is designed to account for the human experience, it benefits consumers, clinicians and administrators. Healthcare organizations have an unprecedented opportunity to transform their relationships with all these stakeholders when they consider and respond to human behavior. And, consumers will have a better opportunity to interact with technology to access care how and when they want to.


From depositing checks via your smartphone to making dinner reservations online, people want to use self-service to take care of business.


Healthcare is yet another industry using design thinking to create techenabled services that are simple, intuitive and make it easy for people to achieve an outcome. What began as telemedicine has evolved into a broader array of digital healthcare services. For starters, people can book appointments on their own. The options will only expand as technology interfaces become more sophisticated and offer more choices: What type of appointment – during or after hours? Virtual consult or in-person? See the doctor now, or communicate asynchronously? Even payment for care will be simpler as more plans will allow you to pay for healthcare services online, using a variety of payment methods. Technology also empowers consumers to meet their health goals from home or on the go— places outside of a clinical setting. Services designed for people will learn from their behaviors and adapt accordingly. For instance, if someone has a weight loss goal, a health app can suggest foods to eat or offer motivation to exercise. Data can be shared with the person’s doctor so that they are informed of health changes. Clinicians can augment the service, as needed, to help encourage the weight loss.


Trend 5 : The Uncharted


Healthcare enterprises are not just creating new products and services; they’re shaping new digital industries.


From technology standards, to ethical norms, to government mandates, in an ecosystem-driven digital economy, one thing is clear: a wide scope of rules still needs to be defined, especially in a highly regulated industry. To fulfill their digital ambitions, healthcare enterprises must take on a leadership role to help shape the new rules of the game. Those who take the lead will find a place at or near the center of their new healthcare ecosystems, while those that don’t risk being left behind. The entire future of healthcare’s digitally enabled transformation is, in many ways, uncharted. But to set the industry on the right course, healthcare organizations must take responsibility for shaping the future by shifting from market taker to market shaper— defining the rules, establishing the governance and determining how to protect all participants in the ecosystem – to shape the healthcare ecosystem of the future. By working collaboratively with regulators, standards bodies, and other ecosystem stakeholders, successful progress into the uncharted is possible.


Healthcare technology is advancing quickly as cloud, artificial intelligence, mobility, internet of health things and blockchain emerge to transform care delivery and health administration.


Consumer and clinician expectations are also changing at a rapid pace alongside technology change, creating a perfect storm of healthcare transformation. However, many regulatory frameworks have not evolved at the same speed. Standards and policies related to digital technology use in healthcare will need to adapt along with new care and reimbursement models. For instance, virtual care allows clinicians to treat patients regardless of where they are. Yet aspects of licensure limit who can practice medicine in-state versus out of state. In fact, some states require patients to be in a physical clinical setting to conduct a virtual visit versus at home or on the go, minimizing the impact of location independence. Other industries are recognizing that the rules need to be reshaped in the digital era. Financial services has long been an industry leader in adapting standards as technology change occurs. Healthcare must do the same. Industry leaders and consortiums will need to create new rules and regulations that strike the right balance between security, privacy and trust amid the high stakes of healthcare. The longer they wait, the more behind the industry will be.



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About Accenture


Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 401,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at


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