Most likely, in one of the few lucid moments you have in your hectic, even chaotic schedule you contemplate healthcare’s greatest problems, its most pressing questions that must be solved, obstacles and the most important hurdles that must be overcome, and how doing so would alleviate many of your woes. That’s likely an overstatement. The problems are many, some of the obstacles overwhelming.
There are opportunities, of course. But opportunities often come from problems that must be solved. And, as the saying goes, for everyone you ask, you’re likely to receive a different answer to what needs to be first addressed. So, in this series (see part 1 and part 2), we examine some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, according to some of the sector’s most knowledgeable voices.
Without further delay, the following are some of the problems in need of solutions. Or, in other words, some of healthcare’s greatest opportunities. What is healthcare’s most pressing question, problem, hurdle, obstacle, thing to overcome? And how that can be solved/addressed?
Dekel Gelbman, CEO, FDNA
The biggest hurdle in healthcare is the adoption and ethical use of AI, and the ability to share data gathered from it in a safe and secure way to gain actionable insights. More specifically, the world is moving towards consumer genomics. This type of technology will help patients and their caregivers better understand their health and allow for more personalized care plans—this is our role in the future of precision medicine.
Randy Tomlin, CEO and chairman of the board, MobileSmith
A pressing question for many healthcare execs is “how can I gain loyalty from the next generation of patients? With the estimated lifetime value of a new patient at $600,000, and Millennials and Generation Z making up one-half of the U.S. population, the stakes are high. Healthcare lags behind other industries in adopting a mobile-first strategy, but some health systems are branding their own mobile apps because they know that it speaks to the engaged-consumer mindset of these populations. In many cases, mobile app technology has proven to increase patient engagement, education and loyalty, while improving a hospital’s bottom line.
Justin Barad, MD and founder, Osso VR
During my surgical training, I experienced firsthand the greatest challenge facing our healthcare system today: how we train and assess our providers. Data shows that our century-old apprenticeship based system of surgical training is struggling under a growing number of procedures and decreased hands-on time with patients. At the end of at least 14 years of education and accumulating six figures of debt, 30 percent of residency graduates still cannot operate independently. Even surgeons in practice are finding immense challenges learning new procedures and bringing them to patients. This is limiting the adoption of higher value modern technologies and limiting patient access to these lifesaving procedures. Virtual reality is opening the door for increased access and skill development in a highly precise and like-life environment. Residency programs and medical device companies are adopting virtual reality to have a much more natural learning experience with a much higher retention rate than conventional observational methods such as a book or video. We have harnessed immersive technologies to improve patient outcomes, increase the adoption of higher value medical technologies and democratize access to surgical education around the world.
Sarmad Malik, director, Dr Felix
We think that the biggest question in international healthcare at the moment is: how can we all make sure that digital health works for everyone? Over the last few years, digital health has become increasingly popular. From googling symptoms to online pharmacies, more and more people are seeking healthcare online. But digital health is not without controversy. Critics argue that digital health is unreliable, hard to regulate and a risk to patients. Yet more and more people turn to digital health platforms. In an increasingly technological world, digital health is not something that is going to go away. We need to find out how we can ensure that patients always get the best care we can give them, whatever platform they use.
Adam Ward, executive innovation coach, Simpler Consulting
Given the Venn diagram of healthcare, technology and consumerism, the biggest issue is one most patients desperately crave: timely access to appropriate care. Yes, we want it now, whatever it is. Amazon, Google and Facebook have fueled that. In healthcare, we just think we have to wait for the doctor. We don’t. The answer: digital triage and treatment via new roles. As patients, we just want to return to “healthy.” Given technology and supply chain improvements, most conditions don’t require patients to see an actual physician. New roles, enhanced by AI, could diagnose and treat patients instantly, many times from home.