Healthcare: ripe for disruption

Consumers are now beginning to expect their doctors to offer the same convenience and personalisation as online shoppers with Amazon. The way we live our lives has undergone massive transformation over the past decade, with significant changes in social norms and consumer behaviour. Ten years ago, it was unheard of to rent a stranger’s flat instead of booking a hotel room, or to get out of a taxi without opening your wallet. Technological advances and shifts in consumer habits have wrought fundamental changes in industry after industry – retail, travel, at home entertainment. Healthcare is unlikely to be immune.

The incumbents in those industries seldom saw the change coming. They recognised the threat these changes posed to their core business, but were unable to sufficiently break out of mental paradigms about how they traditionally win in the marketplace to alter their course.

Identifying the next big tipping point comes down to pattern recognition.

An industry is ripe for disruptive innovation when a number of conditions collide. First, you see unhappy consumers, facing many frustrations, and you also observe waste or inefficiencies in the supply side of the system. Then, you need a catalyst. It could be a regulatory change, a new technological advance, or a shift in social norms to change the landscape and create conditions ripe for disruption.

We are seeing this potent mix of conditions now in healthcare. New technology and rapid progress in genomics promise to revolutionise diagnostic capabilities and to personalise medical care. And consumers are beginning to expect their doctors to offer the same convenience that ordering an Uber does.

How should we in healthcare respond to these changes that are coming down the track? Do we leap on-board, or stand aside and let the train pass? Do let us know your thoughts by posting a comment at the end of this blog.

Read the editorial here.

Comments (6) Add yours ↓
  1. Culley Carson Professor of Urology

    Roger’s comments are well taken. In the US the expectation of physicians being always available for every query is rampant. With the electronic medical records that we are all sentenced to, the need for immediate feedback is building. Indeed, at our medical center, patients can email us at any time and we are expected to answer their queries within 72 hours. While most patients respect the need for physicians to have some personal time, there is a small but persistent group that send long and detailed queries and are not satisfied with anything but a response that is lengthy and has references attached. All for no charge! This and other changes in US medicine has led to the huge increase in physician burnout and physicians looking for jobs outside of patient care.

    To paraphrase a famous French king: “Apres EMR, le deluge.”

    April 4, 2018 Reply
  2. Declan Murphy Urologist

    “Resistance is futile”!!!
    The digital/sharing industries, along with the abandonment of privacy in the social media age, fundamentally change the way in which patient/clinician interface. It’s just the way it is! Expectations will be driven by these disruptors, and we cannot just ignore these new norms

    April 5, 2018 Reply
  3. Christian Brown Consultant Urologist

    A hotelier friend of mine has recently sold up and moved on after 20 years in the B&B market in Brighton. The simple reason is that Airbnb has taken over the market at every level even 5 star with in house catering.

    His main regret is not getting involved and thinking it was a passing whim and that a good name and quality would guanrentee survival. I agree with Declan – there is no choice. Some patients for some conditions will place convenience at the top of their priorities and our engagement in ensuring good quality and safety is paramount.

    April 8, 2018 Reply
  4. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Declan and Christian are right “Resistance is futile”. Stephen Hawking pointed out that “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change“. Those of in medicine now need to adapt and “digitise” the care we provide. Fewer pointless out-patient visits, more streamlined diagnoses, more (encrypted) electronic communication with patients and their carers. If we don’t embrace the digital age in which we find ourselves, we will be left behind, wistfully wishing that we had made the change!

    April 8, 2018 Reply
  5. Mike Kirby Professor

    Cully is right about burnout & there is a real issue in Primary & Secondary Care at the present. But, you can’t buck change & it is the innovators who will survive not the laggards!!
    In the NHS, as in other complex systems, it is only too easy to look inwards much more frequently than outwards – or for attention to be focused on certain types of drivers, such as policy directives or performance indicators. But the real answers to the question, ‘Why do we need to change?’, lie in identifying and reflecting on the gaps between what is currently being offered and what is likely to be needed in the next few years. Many models can help people to explore either directly or indirectly
    the rationale for chang, and the bottom line is: does it benefit patients & how can we work in the system & keep our work/home-life balance healthy?

    April 9, 2018 Reply
  6. Simon Wessely Professor

    OK, so I am a psychiatrist. And a psychiatrist is a doctor who doesn’t run, at least at work. Which probably means we are not great innovators. So am not in a good position to join this debate. But because I am a psychiatrist i am less worried than perhaps others about the threats from innovation, and that we will all be replaced by an app or robot. If i was Roger I would be more worried that a robot could take over, or if i was a radiologist I would look nervously at AI systems taking over my reporting functions. But what will save medicine is one thing . Call it irrational if you like, and perhaps it is, but when people are in deep distress, there is something reassuring about talking to another human being. At the moment I am leading the review of the Mental Health Act. And what i hear time and time again are two things. First, if only they had done something sooner this would never have happened. But close behind comes “I wish i had had more time to talk to my [insert name of mental health professional]. And that’s why I won’t be out of a job

    April 23, 2018 Reply

Your Comment

All comments are moderated. Trends in Urology & Men’s Health reserves the right not to publish material we deem inappropriate.

Web design and marketing agency Leamington Spa