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Industry innovation: How has COVID-19 changed global healthcare?

Topic: Industry innovation: How has COVID-19 changed global healthcare?

Medicine is a living science that prides itself on continual discovery. In recent years, healthcare innovators have brought us artificial-intelligence algorithms that arguably read chest X-rays as well as or better than radiologists, inexpensive genomic sequencing that can guide personalized cancer treatments, and vast improvements in population health management through big data and analytics, to name just a few examples.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has placed unparalleled demands on modern healthcare systems, the industry’s response has vividly demonstrated its resilience and ability to bring innovations to market quickly. But the crisis is likely far from over and the sector’s innovation capabilities must continue to rise to the challenges presented both by COVID-19 and the economic fallout from its spread. While many industries are facing unprecedented disruption, medicine and healthcare are uniquely affected given the nature of this crisis. For example, pharmaceutical companies racing to develop vaccines must also manage complex supply chains, new models for engagement with healthcare professionals, a largely remote workforce, and disruption to many clinical trials. Similarly, hospitals are caring for COVID-19 patients with evolving protocols while maintaining continuity of care for others, often against the backdrop of vulnerable staff, supply and equipment shortages, and, for some, accelerating financial headwinds.

The effects of the pandemic on the industry continue to be profound. The shifts in consumer behavior, an acceleration of established trends, and the likely deep and lasting economic impact will potentially affect healthcare companies no less—and quite possibly more—than those in other sectors. Around the world, more than 90 percent of executives we polled believe COVID-19 will fundamentally change their businesses, and 85 percent predict lasting changes in customers’ preferences. Among healthcare leaders, two-thirds expect this period to be the most challenging in their careers.1

To meet both the humanitarian challenge and the obligation to their stakeholders, leaders of healthcare organizations need to meet the innovation imperative. History tells us that organizations that invest in innovation during a crisis outperform their peers in the recovery (exhibit). What’s more, a crisis can create an urgency that rallies collaborative effort, breaks through organizational silos, and overcomes institutional inertia.

Topic Discussed: Industry innovation: How has COVID-19 changed global healthcare?

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