Digitization is bringing a sea change to a U.S. healthcare industry already facing waves of uncertainty. By taking the right steps, this can be a major opportunity for industry players.
Forecasting the future of any industry is difficult, none more so right now than healthcare in the United States. There are countless reasons why healthcare will look different in the near future, not least of which being the country's movement toward national coverage. However, digital transformation—the cumulative change that comes when digital technologies are introduced wholesale into an established industry—is poised to have an even bigger impact. For the U.S. healthcare industry, digital technology will be transformational, cutting healthcare delivery costs, eliminating errors through improved electronic medical records, and establishing routinized, evidence-based approaches to treatment.
Digital forces are pulling at the industry and significantly altering services, products, innovation, delivery, and remuneration (see figure). There are digitally integrated healthcare providers, digital medical devices and technologies, and digital delivery and monitoring of home healthcare. In addition, new ideas are emanating from developing markets, agile competitors are embracing technology, and a digital-friendly federal administration is pushing innovation. And don't forget the digital consumer who is used to digital banking, digital retailing, and digital education, and expects digital healthcare.
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