The Future of Healthcare Delivery – 9 Experts Weigh In

The future of healthcare delivery will likely see a huge shift to healthcare-at-home and the landscape is expected to become even more patient-centric.

But what do the medical experts working on the frontline think of the future of healthcare delivery? To decode the mindset of medical professionals, we asked them a few questions:

  1. Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?
  2. What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?
  3. What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

Here we are with their inspiring responses and visions for what the future entails for healthcare delivery:

1. Atif Zafar, Medical Director At St. Michael’s Hospital

Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

As a physician involved in health innovation, I strongly believe that the disruption in healthcare is waiting to happen anytime. The current US healthcare system is not patient oriented or physician-oriented, rather insurance firms, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals are the primary beneficiaries.

Regarding your question, I am confident that patients will become the center of attention in the post-disruption era, however, the entire patient care can’t be provided at home. 

Yes, primary care, various non-interventional consultations, drug delivery, compliance assessment via home monitoring, therapy programs through VR, stereotypical infusion of medicine, and other innovative models will reach the homes of our patients but high-end sophisticated robotic, AI-driven imaging, diagnostics, and interventions will require hospital visits.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

Patient-centric care is what will take over. World-class entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk have taught the world how industries are disrupted. It’s really all about the customer. 

As a physician, I can tell you with confidence that in the current system the most dissatisfied and miserable entities are patients, physicians, and nurses. The most important stakeholders in healthcare.

The primary consumers and providers are unhappy. The future healthcare delivery will focus on these entities, especially the patients and their families. 

Related Read: Building A Telemedicine Platform For Your Practice: A Comprehensive Guide

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

I think bureaucracy which has smartly controlled the entire healthcare system is the biggest hurdle. That is the only way they can hold the control over the system. By having ruled over “who can do what”. The beauty of this era is, entrepreneurs are smarter. We will break all hurdles and have a very patient-centric healthcare system in the coming years. Just wait and see.

2. Bob Baker, MD & Medical Keynote Speaker


Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

None of us knows what “normal” is going to look like after Covid. Just because medicine has been primarily practiced out of offices and clinics for the past 75-100 years, we should not expect that it will return to that old model. Certainly, some branches of medicine—psychiatry and psychology, for instance—can be effectively practice remotely.

But how can an internist or pediatrician listen to a heart or palpate an abdomen through Zoom? I am also concerned that oftentimes patient problems are discovered which were not the immediate cause of their visit to a provider’s office.

For example, the patient who comes in with an uncomplicated UTI and is discovered to have an asymptomatic elevated blood pressure.

I expect that some hybrid model will emerge, and while there will be advantages such as improved access to health care and lower cost, I fear for what will be lost without real face-to-face contact.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

Access, affordability and kindness are the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

When the stethoscope was first invented, some people expressed fears that it would come between physicians and patients. No longer would the physician place his (and it was mostly men then) ear directly on the patient’s chest to listen to the heart. Fortunately, these fears were unfounded.

Today we see the computer separating physicians from patients, even in offices, as the doctor stares at the screen instead of the patient. We need to be ever vigilant that any future technology does not depersonalize the encounter and further separate patients from providers.

3. Harvey Castro, MD & CEO At Trusted Health Physicians & Author of Success Reinvention (L.I.O.N.) Open Networking

Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

The future of healthcare is moving towards being home-based. Now, more than ever, patients are concerned that they will be exposed to COVID or the “next COVID equivalent”  by other patients. 

This has given a rise to patients looking for contactless solutions. They are looking for ways to prevent disease processes and to better manage their diseases at home. 

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

Creating healthcare products that allow patients to be more independent at home and allow patients to control the way they want healthcare delivered. I see more personalized customizations for patients coming to the market.

For example, more DNA testing for specific medications that would work better for a patient based on the patient’s DNA. 

This provides customized healthcare with more specific solutions based on your DNA. The key goals for the future will be more individualized health care and more customized healthcare. 

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

One of the challenges and possible roadblocks is the cost of technology and adaptation to technology. If the technology is too sophisticated to be used then it can not be adapted for the masses.

Currently, we have many diseases that the solution is extremely expensive, and only a small amount of the population can afford this solution. For example, the treatment for Hepatitis C is currently very expensive for the population.

Another roadblock can be having the population adapt to the new technology. Some of the technology might cross the line with patient privacy. For example, the Alexa device is helping patients, but the device is on and can be tapped into and heard by others. This is a challenge and roadblock for future devices and technology being developed.

Education is the key to many challenges. It is imperative that we educate the population on the issue and let the patients drive the development of the solution and understand the challenge.

Working together towards a solution is the key.  A recent example is COVID and the thoughts on wearing masks.

Initially, some patients objected to using masks, but now patients are using masks and adapting to the new world based on education. Patients see the advantage of using the mask and this education is now preventing the disease.

Related Read: How To Use AI For Patient Engagement

4. Denise Gonzales, Experienced Medical Group and Hospital Physician Executive

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Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

There are some types of care that can never be performed virtually: women’s health exams, initial neurological consultation in the ambulatory setting. There are some that can always be done virtually: symptom-related f/u, medication titration, counseling, etc. 

There is a vast gray zone in between that is driven by patient choice, payor choice, distance, technology availability, the availability of others or technology to assist with the physical examination, etc. For these reasons, I suspect it will land in a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 mix overall.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

Overall, most of us should be in the business of keeping patients healthy, rather than curing disease after it has developed. I would like our future to be one of prevention and health maintenance. I’d love the demand for intensivist services to be low because we have healthier people.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

In a rural and poor state such as NM, distance, lack of technology access, lack of technology literacy are all roadblocks. Across the country, however, it is CMMS and payor rules that have shaped how we deliver healthcare.

We can’t sustain the delivery of healthcare that is not reimbursed, therefore the payment model is what determines how we deliver care.

Additionally, the regulations we have put in place for the purpose of patient protection, in many ways, create barriers to accessing healthcare. 

5. Mark Luhovy, MD & COO At PhenoMx

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Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

Yes. Healthcare services are moving out of the hospital and into the community in an era of emerging patient empowerment. Technology and medical innovation will increasingly provide the opportunity to broaden access to care, either through telemedicine platforms or the mobile delivery of medical goods and services.

Relaxed barriers to market entry through streamlined regulatory policy as well as the creation of new healthcare finance models may fundamentally change the way healthcare is delivered in the United States. 

Medical knowledge is not as siloed as it historically has been, even up to the turn of the century. As a result, the notion of the physician high priest acting as the sole purveyor of inaccessible information has largely been disbanded and will be replaced by an empowered patient population, capable of playing a more active role in their own wellbeing. 

The need for adequate patient education will remain, however. Preventive and Precision Medicine may increasingly drive care delivery and financial models, as medical intervention is pushed upstream to promote wellness proactively.

Finally, addressing social determinants of health outside the hospital aims to reduce disparities in healthcare, improve clinical outcomes and ease the financial burden on overloaded healthcare systems. 

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

Increasing access to care in a cost-effective manner. Half of the world’s population lacks access to basic medical services, according to the World Health Organization. Key goals and objectives for the future of healthcare delivery must therefore focus on increasing access to care for rural and underserved communities throughout the globe. 

The use of technologies such as digital health and mobile health services can assist with this objective, yet each runs the risk of further fracturing clinical outcomes by failing to address the digital divide.

Furthermore, the delivery of effective care must occur within cost models that are equal and affordable to all segments of the population, a target made more difficult with the widening of economic disparity. 

Coverage models that serve both the uninsured and the under-insured populations may necessitate progressive political discourse.

Technology has the capacity to create a paradigm shift of upstream care delivery that priorities disease prevention and biopsychosocial wellness overactive biological treatments, though financial and legal models may dictate overall effectiveness.

As a result, new legal structures that allow physicians to perform their jobs within modern frameworks may be needed to minimize risks for litigative exploitation. 

Financial models, requiring government and private institutional sponsorship, can pave the way for a future state of healthcare where all segments of the population have access to basic medical services that truly promote personal wellbeing.

In summary, new technologies, medicolegal, and financial models must strive to address the quadruple aim of improved patient and provider experience, better outcomes, and lower costs.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

The design of healthcare financial models serves as a limiting factor for how effective the future of healthcare will be. Financial models that fail to fiscally support the promotion of basic medical services may instead serve only to further widen the gap between those with and those without, thereby undermining longevity.

Promotion of digital health services might result in a future where access to care is broadened, but also might serve to marginalize segments of the population without access to the basic technology.

Similarly, an era of relaxed regulations must balance the need to approve innovative digital health applications (particularly those with evidence-based clinical benefit to patients) with the need to properly de-risk new tech as part of the diligence process.

Legal frameworks that protect physicians during an exploratory phase of digital health adoption must also ensure that bioethical principles such as nonmaleficence and distributive justice are fully accounted for.

Given the recent advances of medical technologies and an exacerbated adoption driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of medicine is undoubtedly full of potential.

6. Tanu S. Pandey, MD  & Regional Medical Director At UnitedHealth Group (US)

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Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

I think that healthcare delivery will at least partially be based out of patient’s homes. I don’t think it will be completely based out of their homes as virtual care cannot replace the face-to-face interaction between the physician and patient.

In pre-Covid times, home health care was mostly ancillary services like skilled nursing and physical therapy. 

Physician home services were limited to physicians visiting disabled seniors at home with well documented rationale regarding why they were homebound. In the post-Covid era, office and hospital visits have been summarily restricted to limit exposure to the virus.

This has resulted in the rapid proliferation of Telemedicine services. In fact, Telemedicine has now become mainstream with reimbursement on par with office visits. This is definitely a move in the right direction as it not only serves as a convenient mode of healthcare access for patients but also reduces the cost of medical care. 

However, the disadvantage of Telemedicine is the lack of physical examination findings like blood pressure, pulse, and heart, lung, and abdominal examination. This does take away from a proper encounter and has the potential to miss critical findings.

Digital interactions also take away from the humanism of the physician-patient relationship due to lack of actual physical presence. 

Due to the advent of artificial intelligence in health care as well as hyperlocal services that take medications and other care to the home of the patient, there is a potential of a major part of healthcare delivery to become home based.

However, critical services will still need office visits, including tests, chemotherapy, minor procedures, and any follow up care that needs physical examination.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

The key goals in future will include improving access to medical care, reducing the cost of care and affordability, and providing improved quality of medical care in as short a time as possible.

Currently one of the major issues in healthcare is poor access to quality healthcare. Even in western countries like the USA access to medical care remains elusive and expensive. In the developing countries it is even worse.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

Challenges in healthcare delivery are many and include:

  • Cost of care and development of emerging technologies like AI
  • Affordability of drugs
  • Insurance coverage
  • Workforce training and culture change
  • Patient privacy and confidentiality
  • State and federal regulations around new technology
  • Healthcare provider reluctance to integrate with technology
  • Fragmented interoperability between systems
  • Anxiety about job loss and replacing humans from AI
  • Continuously evolving technology 
  • Lack of stakeholders 
  • Ethical issues including lack of human touch and compassion in telemedicine and AI

There are ways to combat these changes. The foremost is the continuous education of the healthcare workforce as well as patients in how to optimally utilize their resources.

The government’s role in ensuring adequate insurance coverage for all citizens will be instrumental, like Medicare for All in the US. 

Restructuring the pharmaceutical industry is critical. The opioid crisis has to be addressed. Research and development in certain key areas must be evaluated, like medical marijuana.

A uniform electronic medical system would mitigate the loss of continuity of care and reduce cost.

Related Read: 7 Ways Automation is Boosting Healthcare and Improving Patient Outcomes

7. Deepak Garipalli, Vice chair Of Medicine Department At Atrium Health (NC)

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Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

Today, we are at the interesting juncture of transformation in healthcare delivery which demands efficient and convenient healthcare, and that would be best out of individuals’ homes.

I don’t think anyone can ignore the importance of a home environment which has much less stress, for any kind of patient. Being a practicing physician myself, I can see that would fit to the desires of most patients.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

The key objective of the Healthcare industry has always been the “patient satisfaction” which can be achieved by these technologies. Another important objective of the healthcare industry is “innovation”.

AI has numerous opportunities in creating the data, analyzing to the best, and to create tailored treatment options for patients.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

Biggest challenge of healthcare providers and patients is to get comfortable with the changing technologies which are fastly approaching their lives. That being said, it would be interesting to see how the baby boomers will adjust to these new technologies.

To accomplish this, technology providers should make it more user-friendly. Many might have thought it would take years to get there,  but situations like COVID-19 gave the much needed push to the process.

Technology is already encroaching swiftly with Home virtual visits, teladoc, connected devices, personalized digital guidance for people with chronic conditions.

Still, a long way to go, but certainly on the right path,  to transform healthcare.

8. Maria Kunstadter, President At The TeleDentists Aka The Dentist Is IN

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Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

Absolutely. I believe the smartphone is the newest medical device that can assist in treating people for many health issues from the comfort of their own home.

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

This is a pivotal time in healthcare. We need to reduce healthcare costs while improving patient outcomes. As a dentist, I would point out the need for the integration of oral health back into healthcare.

Studies show a decrease of 17% reduction in healthcare costs by improving a patient’s oral health—a win-win on every level. 

The patient is healthier and costs are reduced. Using teledentistry to put a virtual dentist on every healthcare team and in every healthcare facility is now possible…at the tip of your fingers.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

Bureaucracy that has placed layers of redundancy for every aspect of care has made the system so cumbersome and costly that it will be a massive undertaking to change.  People’s innate resistance to change is reflected in the systems humans have built. 

When it takes 17 years for impactful research to get to the population that will benefit from that research, something is wrong with the system. Change is the only thing that remains a constant in life. Embracing change that will have a positive impact is required.

9. John DeBanto, Medical Doctor

Do you think the future of healthcare delivery would primarily be based out of individual’s homes?

No, but I do think that the patient will have a lot of “tools” that will connect directly to the doctor’s office. Expanding on what is somewhat available now. Wearable blood pressure, EKG, blood sugars, weights, etc.

I do see a future without requiring a lab to take blood. Most information may be gleaned from small amounts of blood and this information can be transmitted to the doctor. 

My biggest fear is that we will rely too much on data obtained and computer interpretation and not on what only a doctor can “feel” about his patient.

You can not teach computer gestalt. Medicine is an art based on scientific principles. I do believe telemedicine will continue to be utilized, particularly in follow up visits as opposed to the first visit. 

What would be the key goals/objectives of the future of healthcare delivery?

The goals of health care delivery is and always should be excellent patient care.

What challenges or roadblocks could come in the way of shaping the future of healthcare? Also, are there any ways to combat these challenges?

Government oversight. They should stay out of health care entirely in my opinion as they are not good at it.  Allow doctors and industry, those that are experts in the field shape it.

That being said, there needs to be some regulation and overseeing of things so that rogue nations or individuals do not exploit the system.

Anubhuti Shrivastava
 

Anubhuti writes about topics related to healthcare technology and software development in general. Holding a Masters' in Communications, she is detail-oriented and believes in producing well-researched content. Apart from being a wordsmith, she seeks pleasure in bringing her ideas to life on canvases.