We are currently in a world of boundless possibilities.
One major milestone this year is certainly the launch of space tourism by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
These marvellous fetes have extended the realm of defining possibilities.
Applying the same lens in healthcare, we are beginning to witness several monumental transformations, occurring not just in the first world but also in emerging countries in Africa such as Kenya.
These transformations centre around how we conceptualise the supply and demand side of healthcare.
On the supply side, major paradigm shifts include the application of technology such as mobile telephony to increase healthcare provider-to-patient ratios.
Another is the application of industrial concepts to improve the internal efficiencies of healthcare facilities.
Also, scaled-up models of healthcare service delivery have taken shape.
These have manifested as various healthcare providers realised a need for synergies and taking advantage of economies of scale; resulting in an increase in group hospitals and clinics through mergers and acquisitions.
This is demonstrable by an increase in the number of private equity firms investing in healthcare service delivery.
On the demand side, one major transformation is what I like to refer to as ‘the uberisation of healthcare’.
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Healthcare among consumers is now viewed as being in a constant state of motion as punctuated by an increase in wearable medical devices to help users track vitals such as heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, body mass index and general health status.
This is critical in combating lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
Also, episodes of unwellness are being modelled as patient journeys.
Indeed, healthcare quality measurement schema has developed tracer methodologies that measure patients’ experiences throughout the labyrinth of healthcare service provision and score these as quality indicators.
These advances should provide players in the healthcare ecosystem the much-needed confidence to transform more ideas into reality.
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Collectively, they can astronomically improve patients’ experiences.
The writer is a healthcare leader and geospatial epidemiologist.
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