Tina Wheeler is Vice Chair and Health Care Sector Leader for Deloitte in the U.S. She leads the overall strategic direction of the health care practice as well as its go-to-market strategies and resources. The sector spans advisory, audit, consulting, and tax practices, and Tina is deeply committed to helping clients navigate the ever-changing health care landscape.
Dealing with Disruption: Preparing for the Future of Health
TW: There’s no denying that 2020 has been a year filled with disruption—and unfortunately, we are facing a continuing surge of COVID-19 infections. Providers are better positioned to deal with the current wave because of lessons learned; better treatment options and a better PPE supply chain. Even with these improvements the health and mental well-being of clinical and non-clinical workers that regularly interface with patients is top of mind for health care leaders. Staffing shortages are an issue as COVID is now present across multiple geographies vs in “hot spots” which was the case during the first COVID wave. Deloitte’s recent report, “Caring for caregivers: Using workforce strategy levers to support mental well-being,” explores the stressors facing these front-line workers including emotional toll of guilt and grief. These issues are even more pronounced for women and people of color.
TW: We see shared agenda items that impact the health system, patients and communities and have a wide-reaching effect.
COVID-19 pandemic as an ongoing catalyst- Deloitte has worked with public, private, and nonprofit clients to respond to COVID-19. We have learned critical lessons about the task ahead and have come to understand that it will take ongoing collaboration to bring national and global insights, tools, and best practices to hyper-local levels to end the pandemic. We have made significant investments to understand the forces reshaping health care, the industry transformation that is underway because of those forces, and the new structure of the industry that is likely to emerge in the wake of the pandemic.
Health equity- The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, along with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low-income populations and communities of color, has brought health equity and the need for greater equality to the forefront of health care. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Health Care Outlook explains how health leaders will need to turn their focus to social media and proactive organizational strategies if they want to actively place equity at the center of their decisions.
The future of health- As leaders build the future of health, empowered consumers are likely to be top of mind. Deloitte’s Health Care Consumer Response to COVID-19 Survey found that from 2018 to 2020, there was a decrease in consumers’ willingness to share their data. During the pandemic, there’s been an increase. The top factors for “an ideal health care experience” include doctors who listen, who don’t rush, and practice clear communication.
TW: When addressing the key issues facing health leaders, there are two focuses that immediately come to mind: strategy and digital transformation.
As leaders grapple with financial results, continued affordability, the shift to telehealth and more, changes in overall strategy—such as new business models and price transparency—should be considered in order to thrive in the future. Leaders must figure out what resources they need and how they can continue to drive growth and sustainability in a turbulent, ever-changing landscape.
Leaders should ask themselves how they can provide health care digitally while managing the risks associated with cloud, AI and virtual health. How well organizations are prepared to support these technologies won’t just serve them well in the near term; it will also offset disruption caused by the next big transformation that comes along.
TW: The rollout of vaccination programs provide hope; but in the wake of the pandemic, leaders will need to focus on transformational efforts that will propel them forward long term, using the lessons learned from the disruption of 2020.
To learn more, please visit www.deloitte.com/future.