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Healthcare: room required for individual views and decisions

Take the good experiences in the area of remote healthcare solutions along into the near future but make sure that healthcare institutions keep room for their own views and decisions. This is what PwC’s Willeke Bakker and Strategy&’s Sander Visser say.

The healthcare sector has just gone through two months of crisis and capacity management. All regular healthcare has been postponed. This has created waiting lists and an enormous backlog of delayed treatments. The question is, however: should we catch up on everything that wasn’t done? Or should we rather pay more attention to overtreatment? Isn’t this precisely the time to see how to organize things differently?

Willeke Bakker: ‘The crisis provides the momentum to manage things differently. The sector was already reaching the limits of its capacity in terms of staff availability and almost unsustainable costs. The benefit of the crisis is a different way of working. The experiment is done. It is now a question of taking this a step further. This goes beyond remote treatment alone. Tablets have been distributed to people who can be treated remotely. Tasks which used to be the responsibility of home care workers, are now being done by voluntary carers. Students did the shopping for the elderly. Rules have been relaxed. These are things to hold on to.

From crisis management...

  • ·The healthcare sector has been through months of crisis and capacity management. Regular healthcare is now facing the challenge of catching up big time.
  • The crisis has shown that other ways of working are possible, such as remote care and remote daytime activities using digital tools but also a flexible deployment of (different) medical specialists at the intensive care departments.
  • A different way of working also involves the temporary transfer of tasks from the medical to the social domain. Voluntary carers taking over tasks from home care and students helping the elderly by providing support in their daily lives.

...to flexibility and adaptability

  • Hospitals and mental health care institutions should have the opportunity to decide for themselves how to catch up and what means, processes and tools they do this with. This requires efficiency and preventing unnecessary care.
  • There is the risk of central crisis management lasting too long. That is a pitfall. Let differences just happen when trying to eliminate the backlogs. And see what works best.
  • There are opportunities for new entrants in the sector, like parties that digitize the entire care processes, like, for example, the remote monitoring of cardiac patients. 
  • A different organization of healthcare requires different funding. The transfer of ‘medical’ to ‘social’ saves money in the healthcare sector, but leads to costs for, for example, municipalities, The incentives should be structured in such a way that savings and costs end up in the right places.
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Sander Visser

Sander Visser

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 279 31 20

Willeke Bakker

Willeke Bakker

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 45 69

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