Creating a culture of innovation

Posted by: on May 28, 2018 | No Comments

I have been participating in a couple of interesting meetings and conferences over the last few weeks. In Sweden, the Saudi Sweden Joint Business Council (where Diaverum is a member) met early May. I participated in a panel debate about “creating a culture of innovation in healthcare”. In my introduction, I talked briefly about the global trends in healthcare. As we all know healthcare is already today facing and will continue to face 3 major challenges;

  • Patients
    There will be a “tsunami” of patients. The global population increases by approximately 80 million each year and the population is rapidly ageing. Many patients will suffer from chronic diseases and very often from more than one chronic disease. Patients are also expecting more from healthcare delivery and one real challenge is that most health systems are stuck in an old model of provision.
  • Staff
    There is an increasing shortage of healthcare professionals around the world. There is simply not enough interest in becoming a healthcare professional. In many countries there are more nurses leaving than entering the work force. There is today a global shortage of healthcare workers of 7.2m, this is projected to grow to 12.9m by 2035.
  • Costs
    75% of healthcare spend in Western World is on chronic disease management. As the number of patients with chronic diseases increases, the pressure on public finances grows. In many countries healthcare spend continues to outstrip GDP growth. This is of course not sustainable.

Innovative care models

With the shortage of healthcare professionals, combined with the escalation of number of patients and increased focus on chronic disease management it is clear that we will have to find ways to ensure improved patient outcomes and patient experience using less resources. This is of course a major challenge but I am sure that technology combined with innovation and digitalization will support this ambition.

Changing the care model is not a “quick fix” and will require significant investments in IT and it is also clear that there will be not only one care model for kidney patients. We will continue to work with different models in different countries even if I believe that care models will become more aligned over time.

The healthcare service companies which manage to improve patient outcomes and patient experiences at the same time as they manage to reduce overall cost to serve will be the winning companies in the future. As I said above, healthcare spend cannot continue to escalate in the same way as has been the case in the past.

In year 2016, the US spent nearly 18% of its GDP on health, whereas the next highest comparable country (Switzerland) devoted less than 13% of its GDP to health. Average in Europe is just below 10%.

Foto på Dag Andersson