2018 Global Health Care Outlook: Working Towards Smart Health Care


Digital technologies are playing a vital role in reducing costs, increasing access, and improving care and the patient experience.

Global health care spending is projected to increase at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in 2017-2021, up from just 1.3 percent in 2012-2016. Aging and increasing populations, developing market expansion, advances in medical treatments, and rising labor costs will drive spending growth. This is according to Deloitte’s latest report, 2018 Global Health Care Outlook: The evolution of smart health care.

Yet the report highlights that higher spending levels don’t always produce better health outcomes and value. Considerable opportunities exist for health care stakeholders to work collaboratively on innovative access, delivery, and financing models to reduce health care costs and increase quality.

The healthcare digital technology market is growing exponentially to meet increasing demand for healthcare services and reduce costs. Healthcare digital transformation can deliver personalized care, enhance the patient experience, enhance staff productivity, reduce human error, reduce administrative burden, and provide more time and care for patients.

 “With rising costs and shrinking margins, the health care sector is looking for innovative, cost-effective ways to provide the quality, outcomes, and value consumers seek,” said Abdelhamid Suboh, partner and Healthcare and life sciences leader, Deloitte, Middle East. “Patient-centric, digital-technology enabled health care can help care providers work smarter and not just harder.”

“The GCC healthcare market is seeing a shift towards connected healthcare providers. The GCC has launched multiple national health strategies and transformation initiatives as part of Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi National Transformation Plan 2022, UAE Vision 2021 and others, which aim to provide the efficiency, quality and effectiveness of the healthcare sector through the use of technology, digital transformation and privatization, Abdelhamid Suboh added.

Independently and collectively, health care stakeholders in 2018 are likely to face a number of existing and emerging issues in their quest to develop a smarter health care sector:

  • Creating a positive margin in an uncertain and changing health economy: Health care providers are likely to continue experiencing shrinking margins and rising costs. By 2020, combined health care spending in the world’s major regions is expected to reach USD $8.7 trillion, up from USD $7 trillion in 2015. To offset shrinking margins, many health care organizations are pursuing new cost-cutting measures and exploring new revenue sources. 
  • Strategically moving from volume to value: Health care is continuing its transition from fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement to outcomes- and value-based payment models. In advanced health systems, sector stakeholders are advocating the shift from treatment to prevention, which has resulted in an evolution from just “patients,” to informed and empowered “health care consumers.” A successful transition to value-based care requires that stakeholders–including consumers—move beyond health care to health; from treatment to prevention and wellness; and from individual to population health.
  • Responding to health policy and complex regulations: Recent cyberattacks have moved the issues of cybersecurity and data risk management front and center. Digital health care is creating challenges for governments, health systems, and insurers, which must collect, analyze, and store more and more data. While government policies and regulations seek to strengthen health care security and safety on a macro level, individual organizations need to focus executive attention on compliance, ethics and risk.
  • Investing in exponential technologies to reduce costs, increase access, and improve care: Exponential technologies are helping to make care delivery less expensive, more efficient, and more accessible on a global basis. Demographic and economic trends, coupled with advancing technologies, could have significant implications for how hospitals of the future will be staffed, sized, and designed. Therefore, stakeholders should consider how to plan for strategic investments in people, processes, and premises enabled by digital technologies.
  • Engaging with consumers and improving the patient experience: Personalized care from providers is a top health care priority for consumers and technology is allowing them to be more active in the decision-making process. Providers and payers should capitalize on digital trends to provide more personalized care, improve communication with consumers, and elevate the patient experience lifecycle (research, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up).
  • Shaping the workforce of the future: With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain and other automated tools have enormous potential to resolve current and future health care workforce pain points—if stakeholders are willing to embrace an augmented workforce. The future of work represents a huge opportunity to ease current concerns and evolve ways in which care is delivered. Health care organizations have an opportunity to help talent and technology join forces rather than compete with each other, and should coordinate human and technological resources from the outset.


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