HealthManagement, Volume 7 - Issue 2, 2012 HIT

Kpmg Report: Tech-Savvy Baby Boomers to Drive Demand for E-Health

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The report from KPMG together with the Manchester  Business School, Accelerating Innovation: The power  of the crowd, is based on in-depth interviews with ehealth  executives representing 15 countries, as well as  insights from KPMG's global healthcare partners. Due  to changing demographics, the need to reduce costs  and to increase the quality of care, e-health is seen as  a crucial approach to address the global imperative to  improve and advance healthcare.  

Nearly 60 percent of the healthcare executives interviewed  said that the top two drivers of e-health will be  patient expectation (61 percent) and an increase in efficiency  (58 percent). More than 30 percent of respondents  said that the main barrier to sustainable e-health  systems is funding (34 percent), while 29 percent believed  it to be professional attitudes.  

According to Dr. Mark Britnell, KPMG's Global Chair  for Health and a partner in the UK firm: "Implementing  e-health requires conviction and commitment, but the  benefits to patients can be enormous if done well. Our  global study offers direction for success and showcases  leading examples which can give decision makers the  confidence and courage to press on."  

"In order for ehealth systems to deliver on the promises  of reduced costs and improved quality of care, clinicians  will need to be brought on board – either willingly or in  response to consumer demand," Britnell added.  

"Today's smartphone user is tomorrow's patient who  wants greater access and control of their healthcare and  their medical records," said Jan De Boer, Global Health IT  Lead for KPMG in the Netherlands. "And, along with patients,  tech-savvy clinicians need to be seen not as a force  to be won over, but as a catalyst for change."  

To create real change in the healthcare system, through  telehealth or telemedicine, the report cites three conditions  essential for success:  

  • Crowd-accelerated innovation;  
  • Collaborative alignment; and  
  • Creative dislocation.  

Crowd accelerated innovation denotes the impact and  influence of the collective – when many people come together  to affect change, such as in the human genome  project or the free internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Collaborative  alignment requires the focused interests and efforts  of a wide range of participants. Creative dislocation  proposes that process and systems must be abandoned to  move forward, such as digital imaging versus conventional  film x-rays.  

Successful projects that employ these approaches include  the Care Connectivity Consortium (CCC) in the US,  Singapore's National Electronic Health Record system  (NEHR) and Denmark's e-health portal,  

Recently the UK Department of Health released its  "Headline Findings" on the Whole System Demonstrator  project, the largest randomised control trial of its kind in  the world. This investigation of telehealth and telecare  reveals that "if used correctly, telehealth can deliver a 15  percent reduction in acute and emergency patient visits, a  20 percent reduction in emergency admissions and a 45  percent reduction in mortality rates."  

"While there is no single path to e-health transformation,  it is too important and too expensive for organisations  to repeat the mistakes of their peers," said Britnell. "Indeed,  much value will come from sharing lessons between  countries, systems, institutions and professionals."  

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission  responsible for the Digital Agenda eHealth attended  the conference and believes, “Building the evidence  base is essential to deploying e-Health. Once we have  concrete facts and figures, it is much easier to convince  others they should take the same road. And it will be  easier for them to put their money where their mouth is.”  Kroes was particularly impressed with one example from  the report: “Hong Kong has cut hospital re-admissions  by 25 percent! It did this through introducing a basic ehealth  registration, hospital admission and risk reduction  programme for the elderly. No wonder it will now be extended  to all seven million citizens in Hong Kong.”  

One key opportunity for e-health lies in care for the elderly,  which is increasingly important in our ageing society.  For Kroes the most important thing is getting all stakeholders  together: Public and private sectors; finance; industry,  carers and physicians. In this context ICT can work  to its true potential. She went on to say that talking is not  enough: “I do not just want a forum for discussion – I want  action and outcomes.” Her three proposed actions are innovative  solutions to prevent falls, promoting successful  integrated care models for chronic diseases among the  elderly (e.g. by using remote monitoring) and getting 30  European regions to work together on innovative ways to  ensure patients follow their prescriptions.

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The report from KPMG together with the Manchester Business School, Accelerating Innovation: The power of the crowd, is based on in-depth interviews with...

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