Over the last few years, European healthcare has faced an unprecedented burden. In a socially-distanced world, trying to address issues like the volume of care and the need for remote working has been difficult. Change was needed. And it needed to happen fast to keep up with the extraordinary demand.
The world continues to settle into a new way of doing things. Yet even when COVID-19 becomes endemic, we believe there will be an obvious gap between the demand for healthcare and the capacity of healthcare services. A gap that digital technologies can help to bridge.
Former DWP permanent secretary, Sir Robert Devereux, recently moderated a Fireside Chat with:
- Jonathan Meddes, Director Deloitte Digital UK
- Karen Taylor Director Deloitte UK Centre for Health Solutions
- Louise Ashbroon RVP Healthcare Salesforce
- Matthijs Boom, Director Digital NL
In our chat, we discussed the need for digital transformation in European healthcare. Europe’s healthcare services are facing a range of challenges, some now and some in the future. Together, Salesforce and Deloitte offer solutions to address them.
Challenges facing European healthcare
Even before the pandemic, there were challenges. An ageing population meant an increased pressure on healthcare. Within the services themselves, many systems worked in silos with a lack of connected service.
We saw workforce issues, common in other industries too. There was also a focus on cure instead of prevention, a growing funding gap, and seeing the patient as a passive recipient of care.
The global pandemic just added to the pressure:
- 60% of clinicians reporting burnout
- 4+ new variants of the virus
- >380k NHS patients on waitlist for over 52 weeks
The future of European healthcare
So what is the answer? There’s already a definite shift from traditional care models to a more digital service. Patients and clinicians alike benefit from services that are technology-enabled, person-centred, and interconnected across multiple touch points.
This digitalisation, in combination with other solutions such as European-wide resourcing into patient care and training as many Health Care Professionals as are retiring, will be key.
There needs to be a continuing focus on transforming care through digital patient experiences. Healthcare organisations need to try to understand and empower patients. They can speed up digital transformation even more by enabling patient journeys with technology.
Digital transformation in European healthcare
Could now be the right moment to make the adjustments towards a more digital European healthcare landscape? Clinicians and patients alike are not only used to embracing digital technology, they’re coming to expect it.
Organisational changes within the healthcare industry are supporting digital transformation. New technology is emerging across many industries. This makes changes much easier for healthcare organisations. And patient willingness to accept and adopt new ways of working is at an all-time high.
Patients are more informed than they were before the pandemic, and their expectations are higher. The factors may have already been there before COVID-19, but they’ve been dramatically accelerated by the pandemic.
Levels of digital maturity vary between countries, but the willingness to adopt these changes is there. The technology is ready to help healthcare services achieve change. The important thing now is effective change management to encourage cultural and mindset changes.
Shaping the future of healthcare
Deloitte recently produced the report Digital Transformation: Shaping the Future of European Healthcare. It surveyed 1,800 clinicians across Europe to look at challenges and potential solutions
The complete list of challenges looks like this:
Deloitte, powered by the Salesforce platform, is already offering valuable solutions. And those solutions are already affecting change in the healthcare landscape. For example, the UK Department of Health and Social Care needed a test kit ordering system for care homes towards the beginning of the pandemic.
Deloitte and Salesforce were able to deliver the system urgently, over a bank holiday weekend. As requirements evolved along with the health crisis, so did the system. It now supports over 160,000 organisations (including schools), and over 2,000,000 test kits have been shipped.
We know that the technology is already here, and capable of meeting future challenges. It’s flexible and open, meaning that systems can pivot and adapt to new uses, with functions that can be added seamlessly. Healthcare services in Europe now need to focus on good program delivery and business change.