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Jun 20, 2022

Healthcare leaders shift priorities for 2022 and beyond: three emerging themes from this year’s Future Health Index

By Jan Kimpen
Chief Medical Officer, Royal Philips

Estimated reading time: 3-5 minutes

The Future Health Index 2022 Report is out. This year, the survey results show healthcare leaders embarking on a reset – refocusing their priorities as the sector emerges from the peak of the pandemic. Here are three key themes I see emerge over the next few years, and some of the ways in which we can tackle them.

Two years ago, I published a post on how the pandemic era should serve as a window of opportunity for our sector. A chance to collectively spark and accelerate the radical changes needed across the industry, from how healthcare is organized, to how services are distributed and delivered.
 
Today, as I reflect on the results of this year’s Future Health Index 2022 Report, I can finally see evidence that this opportunity is being seized by healthcare leaders. In fact, the results paint a picture of an industry that has transformed dramatically over the last 12 months.

Rather than continuing to focus on pandemic efforts, healthcare leaders around the world have taken stock and reprioritized to meet a wide range of complex challenges that will endure far beyond the pandemic, from staff shortages and security threats to the exponential rise of chronic diseases.

Assessing this year’s survey findings, I see three key themes emerge for 2022 and beyond:

 

  1. Improving the staff experience
    The 'great resignation' has had serious and wide-ranging consequences for the healthcare industry, from staff burnouts and spiraling costs to delayed patient services. With no signs of the great resignation abating, leaders have now put the staff experience at the top of their agenda.

  2. Bridging the gap between the promise of predictive analytics and current usage
    Getting more value out of data has become a key priority for healthcare leaders as they look to tackle the organizational crises within their facilities. Many are also keen to leverage data for extending and improving care. As a result, data initiatives have now taken center stage, with leaders actively seeking mentorships from peers who are further along in their predictive analytics journey.

  3. Addressing threats to healthcare data security
    A heavy reliance on the technology used to treat patients, coupled with the high volume of data typically held by hospitals and healthcare facilities has led to record surges in data breaches for our sector. This year’s FHI research reveals that healthcare leaders are keen to take action and mitigate those risks as much as possible, for example by implementing comprehensive data security and privacy systems across their operations.

 

For the purposes of this post, I’d like to dive deeper into the first theme, but to see the full list of healthcare leaders’ priorities for 2022 and beyond, plus how they plan to tackle them, you can download the full Future Health Index 2022 report here.

Telehealth

How can we improve the staff experience?

 

As a doctor and former hospital CEO, I’ve seen first-hand how much the staff experience alone can directly impact the performance and future success of a healthcare facility, irrespective of size or location. I’m also keenly aware of how the staff experience impacts on patient experience. At a recent medical appointment, the doctor was so preoccupied with his heavy workload and administrative burden that it allowed little time for him to respond to my own concerns and questions.

In fact, on a daily basis I’ve seen how poor staff experiences have severely impacted industry job satisfaction and productivity, and dampened the appetite for young people to choose a long-term career in medicine. Of course, the pressures of the pandemic have only exacerbated issues with the staff experience, which is why the industry is now at crisis point. The worst part is, these negative staff consequences can also mean negative consequences for quality of care, while affecting clinicians’ ability to deliver compassionate care.

With the sector now facing a significant 15 million labor shortfall by 2030with a corresponding impact on quality of care – improving the staff experience has finally become a top priority for today’s leaders. This is good news of course, but it’s also news that’s long overdue. The question is, how are leaders actually planning to address it?

Between the almost 3000 healthcare leaders we surveyed across 15 countries in putting together this year’s Future Health Index 2022 Report, the answer is three-fold:

 

  • First, leaders plan to ramp up training in digital technologies, helping staff feel less overwhelmed by increasingly data-centric processes, and more ready to embrace new, digitally focused responsibilities and ways of working.

  • Second, leaders plan to simplify staff workflows and reduce burnout through AI-based automation. For example, touchless patient-sensing technology is being used in some facilities to simplify the process for magnetic-resonance (MR) imaging.

  • Third, leaders plan to help staff make faster, more informed decisions by enabling relevant insights at the point of care. For example, some are investing in telemonitoring platforms that gather data on patients’ vital signs remotely, transforming this data into actionable insights that can be delivered to clinicians in real time, so they can intervene earlier, or start dialogues with the most at-risk patients, increasing patients’ ability to self-care from home.

 

All three of these initiatives are positive and forward-thinking steps that will no doubt aid in improving the staff experience (in many cases they are already), and I’m extremely glad to see today’s healthcare leaders embracing them so readily. However, the quality of the staff experience in the long-term will depend most heavily on the successful coordination of governments, regulators and the industry as a whole, whose collaboration is critical for improving working conditions across the board. So while I’m cautiously optimistic about the progress healthcare leaders are making in addressing their top priority for this year, I also want to hold the wider industry to account in ensuring success.

New priorities for a changed world

 

All things considered, our sector has taken stock and reprioritized in the wake of another year of transformations. Healthcare leaders are now embarking on a reset, as they race to meet the demands of a fundamentally changed world. In this post, we’ve taken a deep dive into how healthcare leaders plan to tackle their top priority for 2022 (improving the staff experience). However, to see the full list of priorities for this year and what healthcare leaders plan to do about them, I suggest downloading the full Future Health Index 2022 Report – there’s so much more to uncover in how today’s healthcare leaders are shaping the future of our industry.

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Jan Kimpen

Jan Kimpen

Chief Medical Officer, Royal Philips

Before joining Philips in 2016, Jan Kimpen, Professor of Pediatrics, was CEO of the University Medical Center in Utrecht. He leads the global clinical team of Philips, focusing on advocacy, customer partnerships, clinical research and medical consulting, and is responsible for the annual publication of the Philips Future Health Index.

 

He is a strategic advisor for commercial and clinical strategy, market reimbursement, R&D roadmaps and partnerships and M&A, and provides thought leadership on relevant clinical and medical topics. Jan participates in the WEF Global Future Council on Healthcare, the American Heart Association alliance and the Board of Sanara Ventures in Israel. Jan is president of COCIR, the European trade union for imaging, healthcare informatics and radiotherapy.

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