Helping healthcare and life sciences organizations face future uncertainties using digital

The pandemic has been a game-changer as it tested the resilience of organizations, forced them to innovate, devise a new way of engaging with customers and renew focus on employee and workforce wellbeing.

The healthcare and life sciences industry was under pressure to deliver results at speed. Hospitals worldwide were running at total capacity, with staff doing 24-hour shifts while facing unprecedented mortality rates and infection control processes. Pharmaceutical companies saw vaccine development cycles drastically reduced from 5 years to a few weeks.

Pandemic, the digital enabler

It is difficult to imagine the pandemic in the non-digital world - it forced healthcare and life sciences companies to utilize their existing digital capabilities to innovate and respond to urgencies. Hospitals, for example, were encouraging virtualization and as the calls for social distancing grew, more and more people began virtual conversations with their doctors and started opting for telehealth services. According to the Mckinsey report, as of July 2021, telehealth utilization was 38 times higher than before the pandemic. Virtual care was enabled by available technology, revised funding, and eager adoption by patients in need of care.
The pandemic showed what digital could do for the entire healthcare and life science ecosystem. They now need to augment their existing capabilities and continue their digitization efforts. Without the urgency, there is a risk of companies slowing their digitization efforts and, worse, going back to the pre-pandemic inefficient process that built the technical debt.

Improving patient care through digital mastery

Now that healthcare and life sciences companies have built a digital foundation, they should continue their journey to achieving technology mastery and adoption. Newer digital technologies will continue to emerge, turning today's impossibilities into tomorrow's market disruptors. Quantum computing, for example, will have a considerable impact on healthcare. It will speed up drug discoveries, vaccine development, and clinical trials and enable hospitals to offer better care to patients.
Organizations must also ensure that their digital and business strategy is in sync, ensuring companies respond to the changes in the business environment faster. Without a sound and disciplined digital strategy, the disconnect between business users and IT departments will widen, leading to digital solutions becoming an enterprise liability.

Atos is collaborating with clients and helping them utilize digital to respond to the changes in their business environment faster. To help clients deliver vaccines efficiently, we created a scalable, modular and expandable digital vaccination portfolio that facilitates cost-effective deployment globally. Our solutions harmonized critical administrative elements of the vaccination process life cycle through connected workflows. This enabled us to cover every stage of vaccine delivery - distribution, traceability to administration management and citizen engagement, monitoring, management and data security. Due to the excellence in enabling safe and secure vaccination delivery, Frost and Sullivan recognized us with the 2021 Customer Value Leadership Award.

Preparing for the future

This pandemic was undoubtedly not the last, and scientists warn that humans could face similar pandemics in the future.

Healthcare and life science companies should apply the learnings from this event to navigate similar situations in the future, minimizing the worldwide economic impact we saw with Covid-19 and hopefully minimizing loss of life.

Digital will play an essential role in controlling the impact on the population. Here are some of the key learnings from the pandemic.

This pandemic was undoubtedly not the last. Healthcare and life science companies should apply the learnings from this event to navigate similar situations in the future, and hopefully minimizing loss of life.

Caring for the caregivers and workforce

Due to long and continuous working hours during the pandemic, care providers and the entire supporting healthcare workforce faced burnout, leading to severe mental health conditions. Hospitals could use digital to renew or alter workflows so that the staff is allowed to work in rotation to ensure their wellbeing. For example, they could use virtualization to treat non-critical patients remotely, reducing the patient burden on hospitals and optimizing staff utilization.

Utilize digital to reduce healthcare inequity

The pandemic has amplified various healthcare inequities that had already existed in our society. It was seen that the mortality rates due to the pandemic were higher in underserved populations and people with comorbidities and ethnic backgrounds. Digital could be a catalyst in reducing these inequities. Digitizing healthcare data, streamlining fractured supply chains and increasing the use of virtualization could increase healthcare parity and lead to every individual in the society getting access to needed healthcare.

Learn more about our healthcare and life sciences services here. You can also read Preparing for the Rebound report here

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About Mary Sirois
Vice President, Integrated Solutions Delivery, Value-Based Care and Population health and member of the Scientific Community
Mary Sirois is the Global Portfolio Leader for Healthcare, serving the Payer and Provider markets. Her role is to develop an innovative portfolio of offerings that serve customer needs in improving quality of care, reducing cost of care, engaging patients/consumers, and improving overall experience for users. Mary is a member of the Atos Scientific Community and has served as the Healthcare lead in contributing the Journey series publications. A physical therapist by clinical background, Mary is pleased to leverage her consulting and operational clinical transformation leadership experience to engage with customers to promote innovation and leverage digital to best drive their business strategies as well as improve the health of the communities they serve.

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