June 08, 2017
Health Organizations Must Embrace Digital Advancements to Scale Health Expertise and Empower Customer Experiences, Says Accenture Technology Vision Report
Annual outlook predicts five converging digital trends that will shift how healthcare applies key innovations
AUSTIN, Texas; June 8, 2017 – Leading healthcare organizations must embrace advances in artificial intelligence (AI), digital ecosystems and other technologies to empower consumer experiences and scale health expertise to meet changing demand, according to a report by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) presented today at the annual America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute & Expo in Austin.
The report,  Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2017, identifies five trends that Accenture predicts will converge over the next three to five years to reshape the healthcare experience: AI is the New UI; Ecosystem Power Plays; Workforce Marketplace; Design for Humans; and The Uncharted.
The five digital trends Accenture identified and their likely impact on the healthcare industry are described below.
  • AI is the new UI. The growing role of AI in healthcare is moving beyond a back-end tool to the forefront of the consumer and clinician experience, becoming a new user interface (UI) that underpins the ways individuals transact and interact with systems. Today’s AI-powered machines can perform triage to augment clinician decision-making, serve as advisors toward an optimal outcome, suggest options based on user behavior or patterns, and even orchestrate tasks across multiple channels to achieve desired outcomes. Emphasizing its growing importance of AI, more than four-fifths (84 percent) of healthcare executives surveyed as part of the research believe that AI will revolutionize the way they gain information from and interact with consumers, and nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of health organizations surveyed are already using virtual assistants to create better customer interactions.
  • Ecosystem Power Plays.  While health enterprises are increasingly integrating their core business functionalities with third-party platforms, they need to adopt a rich and robust portfolio of digital partners to compete with future business ecosystems. Accenture’s research found that two-thirds (66 percent) of health organizations are taking steps to participate in digital ecosystems, 90 percent of health executives believe it is critical to adopt a platform-based business model, and more than three-quarters (78 percent) of the executives believe that competitive advantage will be determined by the strength of the partners and ecosystems they choose.
  • Workforce Marketplace.  Driven by a surge in on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions, traditional hierarchies are being replaced with open talent marketplaces, which four-fifths (80 percent) of health executives surveyed believe will drive profound shifts in their economics. Case in point: More than two-thirds (71 percent) of health executives said they are already using on-demand labor platforms, and the same number (71 percent) believe that building a strong liquid workforce will help them win the war on talent.
  • Design for Humans. The new frontier of digital experience is about designing technology for individual human behavior. Ninety percent of health executives believe there’s a gap between the wants and needs of health consumers; four in five (81 percent) believe organizations need to understand where people want to be and shape technology to act as their guide, and four in five (82 percent) also believe that organizations that truly tap into what motivates human behavior will become the industry leaders. This shift is transforming traditional personalized relationships into something more valuable: interactions that span beyond a physical lifestyle or care setting.
  • The Uncharted. Healthcare enterprises are not just creating new products and services; they’re shaping the uncharted. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of health executives surveyed said their organizations are entering entirely new digital industries. From technology standards, to ethical norms, to government mandates, in an ecosystem-driven digital economy, one thing is clear: a wide scope of rules still needs to be defined. For example, two-thirds (66 percent) believe that many of their innovations in progress fall into gray regulatory areas. To fulfill their digital ambitions, 42 percent of these healthcare enterprises have already joined a consortium to self-regulate, taking on a leadership role to help shape the new rules of the game.
“When we adapt technology to the people that use it in healthcare, it creates new opportunities for patients to take control of when and where they want to receive care services,” said Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., senior managing director of Accenture’s health practice. “With the convergence of these five trends, the health industry will increasingly tap digital technologies to empower human labor, personalize digital services and free-up clinician time to focus on where they’re needed most.”
To learn more, register for the Accenture 2017 Digital Health Tech Vision Webcast taking place on July 25 at 11am Eastern Time.
Accenture’s Technology Vision is developed annually by the Accenture Labs. For the 2017 report, the research process included gathering input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, a group comprising more than two dozen experienced individuals from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital firms and entrepreneurial companies. In addition, the Technology Vision team conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts, as well as with nearly 100 Accenture business leaders.
In parallel, Accenture Research conducted a global online survey of more than 5,400 business and IT executives across 31 countries and 16 industries to capture insights into the adoption of emerging technologies. The healthcare industry report is based on C-level responses from 104 health organizations. The goal of the survey was to identify the key issues and priorities for technology adoption and investment. Respondents were mostly C-level executives and directors, with some functional and line-of-business leads, at companies with annual revenues of at least US$500 million, with the majority of companies having annual revenues greater than US$6 billion.
About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 401,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
# # #
Jenn Francis
+ 1 630 338 6426