With government, practitioners, insurers, regulators, manufacturers, and patients all making demands on our healthcare system, the push for innovation is relentless. In other industries, including retail and media, disruptive change over the past decade has been transformative. However, in healthcare, the pace of change has been slowed, with downward pressure applied by practitioner risk aversion and historical caution, regulatory protection, fragmentation of the specialist landscape, litigation risk, privacy concerns, and implementation challenges.
While clinical innovation has progressed consistently, the experience of being a patient is largely unchanged for over 100 years – physical presentation to a doctor in their rooms, waiting for appointments, paper referrals and scripts, time in hospital wards. The paradox of the healthcare system is that while its purpose is to care for and improve health outcomes for patients, it’s engineered for the operation and convenience of industry.
Practitioners’ incomes are largely unaffected. Due to inelastic demand for medical care, it is the patient, and their caregivers, who are most impacted by the need to intermediate between technologies and processes firmly rooted in past centuries. While advances in medicine have leapt ahead in terms of surgical and diagnostic technique, administrative processes have not.