Our 10 most-read perspectives in 2021 on the future of healthcare

Dec 02, 2021 - Reading time 4-6 minutes

As 2021 draws to an end, health systems in many parts of the world continue to face daunting challenges in addressing new surges of COVID-19 while maintaining ongoing patient care. More than ever, there’s a need to balance short-term crisis management with long-term planning to make health systems fit for the future. Throughout the year, we have explored on this platform what that future may look like – and how we are helping to shape it today in partnership with healthcare providers, patients, payers, and governments. Here, we bring together our most-read perspectives – showcasing how digital innovation can improve people’s lives for a healthier and more sustainable tomorrow.

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1. 10 innovative examples of telehealth in action

During the pandemic, healthcare providers have turned to telehealth to bridge distances in times of physical separation. How can virtual care make a lasting difference? We compiled an overview of examples that show how virtual care can not only deliver a more convenient experience to staff and patients, but also extend the reach of care to underserved communities and enable a shift towards more preventative care.

2. The future of healthcare is smart and connected: a vision for digital transformation

What do a 200-gram smartphone and a 4-ton MR machine have in common? Not much, at face value. But if we trace the past and future evolution of these two very different feats of modern technology, they actually follow surprisingly similar trajectories. Philips’ Chief Technology Officer Henk van Houten explains why the comparison matters, and what it reveals for the future of healthcare.

3. Why circular design is essential for better healthcare

The world’s healthcare systems account for 4% of global CO₂ emissions, more than the global aviation or the shipping industry. And we now know that achieving global climate goals critically depends on more sustainable use of materials – that is, going circular. Robert Metzke, Global Head of Sustainability, and Sean Carney, Chief Experience Design Officer, outline how healthcare leaders can make sustainable choices while delivering on their clinical and operational goals.

4. The power of prediction: how AI can help hospitals forecast and manage patient flow

For hospital leaders tasked with managing unexpected surges in patient demand, the ability to anticipate and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances has become more essential than ever. What if we could predict potential bottlenecks in patient flow in real time – and prevent them before they occur? Chief Technology Officer Henk van Houten shows how predictive analytics can help streamline transitions of care all the way from hospital admission to discharge and into the home.

Patient Flow

5. Why AI in healthcare needs human-centered design

While technological advances in AI hold tremendous promise for healthcare, Chief Experience Design Officer Sean Carney argues that the value of AI is only as strong as the human experience it supports. He calls for a human-centered approach to AI innovation that puts healthcare professionals and patients front and center. Not as an afterthought, but right from the beginning of the design process.

6. Three reasons why sustainable hospitals deliver better care

Our Future Health Index 2021 report showed that healthcare leaders expect sustainability to be a top priority three years from now. And that’s with good reason, according to Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer, and Robert Metzke, Global Head of Sustainability. They argue that caring for people and caring for the planet are two sides of the same coin – creating an even stronger impetus to embrace sustainable practices in healthcare.

7. Virtual care in a post-pandemic world: three key priorities for healthcare leaders

One of the main learnings from the pandemic has been that care doesn’t have to be defined by a place when it is supported by the right technology that connects healthcare professionals and patients across settings. But what will it take to fully integrate virtual care into everyday operations? Roy Jakobs, Chief Business Leader Connected Care, outlines three key priorities for healthcare leaders as they seek to extend care beyond hospital walls.


8. The fight of our lives to ensure health for all

As digital transformation is rapidly changing how and where healthcare is delivered, how do we ensure that no one gets left behind? Half the world’s population still lack access to the health services they need, demonstrating why the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage is as urgent as ever. Jan-Willem Scheijgrond, Global Head of Government and Public Affairs, highlights the importance of partnerships in improving access to care where it’s needed the most.

9. How digital innovation can bring healthcare to remote regions

Accessing timely and specialized health services can be particularly challenging for patients living in remote or rural communities. Showcasing examples from the US, China, and Kenya, we illustrate how digital technology can help patients in both developing and developed countries get the healthcare they need closer to home – wherever they live.

10. How to meet the evolving demands of the modern healthcare consumer

The pandemic has not only upended how and where healthcare systems deliver care to patients – it has also changed what patients have come to expect from care providers. They now value convenience and personalization more than ever. How can healthcare leaders meet patients where they are? We outline six strategies for increased patient engagement.

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