The deployment of technology is a double-edged sword. The leading low-cost operators ensure that technology is not an end in itself but part of the business process, enabling staff to manage workflow more effectively, supporting standardization and allowing new ways of providing care.
“The growth of mobile technology, data and analytics will drive changes in business models and enable providers to offer population healthcare in new and much more effective ways where they can take some insurance risk to doing this.”
Ashraf Shehata, Partner, KPMG in the US
Beyond the capital cost of equipment, including imaging and laboratories – maintenance, consumables and energy use contribute to high costs and limiting their supply is important.
An important source of advantage in low-cost systems is the way they deploy information. As noted in many of our case study examples, several low-cost providers have moved remarkably quickly and cheaply to introduce electronic health records, paperless systems, decision support, inventory management and other IT elements to support business processes. Using technology to support education and staff development is another important application.
We expect low-cost systems will continue to innovate to stay ahead and the next generation of innovators will use mobile devices, automated data collection, collaboration tools and systems to enhance engagement with patients and professionals. The growth of smartphones and other mobile devices over the next ten years will be exponential, with costs falling enough to put them in common use almost everywhere. This offers new ways to engage with patients and new cost saving opportunities for data capture and recording, for example by removing the need for devices to be manufactured with screens and printers.