• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: Press release
  • Date: 4/16/2013

Healthcare Leaders Call for Radical Change, Shared Learning and Innovation in Global Healthcare Economies 

Something to teach, Something to learn
A new report published by KPMG's Global Healthcare Practice finds that many of the world's health economies will need to consider radical reform if they are to cope with the combined challenge of rising costs and demand.

Something to teach, Something to learn: Global perspectives on healthcare captures the international insights of practitioners from leading healthcare organizations in 22 countries. The report calls for a global dialogue and commitment to share learning and innovation, and highlights the need to develop transformational strategies to overcome the challenges faced by health systems around the world.

The report argues that the next five to 10 years will be critical for health systems as they look for ways to cope with rapidly growing and aging populations – threatening their long-term sustainability.

Dr. Mark Britnell, KPMG's Global Health Chairman and co-author of the report, commented: "Each organization and health system will have its own market and regulatory environment to consider but many of the challenges they face are common ones. There should be no excuse for lack of urgency and the only option not on the table is doing nothing."

Key findings from the report include:

  • The shift from 'volume to value' is reshaping how we pay for and provide healthcare. Health systems are looking for ways to eliminate the 'perverse incentives' that reward providers for quantity over quality (the number of treatments carried out rather than the benefit to patients and overall population health improvement).
  • The relationship between patients, clinicians, payers and providers is pivotal – it is influencing the shape of services and can deliver significant benefits. Evidence shows that patients often make better (and more cost-effective) decisions about their care when empowered and fully informed of their options.
  • Patients are demanding, and being given, more control over their care, putting pressure on clinicians to move their role from 'God to guide'.

These drivers predict a need for transformational change leading to:

  • A new breed of 'activist payers' - whether governments or insurance companies - are reinventing themselves as agents of change by using selective and targeted contracting and demanding that providers rethink their models to come up with more innovative and integrated solutions.
  • Providers taking responsibility for outcomes and health improvements. This can mean hospitals adapting by transforming themselves into 'health systems' responsible for entire pathways of care and the health of their communities.
  • The emergence of a more genuine form of partnership as providers and payers start to see the quality and cost benefits that can come from effective integration and a focus on outcomes.

"Rapid and revolutionary health system improvement is the new global reality," said Dr. John E McDonough, DPH, MPA, Professor Director, Center for Public Health Leadership, Harvard School of Public Health. "Any nation thinking that it's 'just me' misses the point "Something to Teach, Something to Learn" drives home. Compelled to change, payers, providers, patients, and health systems are abandoning the status quo for real value and true accountability. Continuous system improvement is the new normal, and those who believe it is 'just them' should read "Something to Teach" to grasp this essential truth."

Some health economies have already started to respond to the changing environment by developing new ways of working. For example, a revolutionary partnership involving Parkinson's patients in the Netherlands, which uses web-based patient education and streamlined treatment pathways has led to a 50 percent reduction in hip fractures and US$25 million worth of savings.

Others have been slower to appreciate the scale and urgency of the situation and could face uncertain futures, the report argues.

In spite of the differences between national systems, Something to teach, Something to learn identifies a number of common drivers shaping healthcare and calls for the start of an international dialogue to share lessons and best practice from around the world.

Dr. Britnell said: "The report uncovers a paradox at work within international healthcare. Leading practitioners acknowledge that major change is inevitable because of rising demand, but too few are actually planning the scale of system reform to cope with it."

Something to teach, Something to learn examines current international best practice and points to several countries where transformational strategies are showing that measurable quality improvement and significant financial savings can go hand in hand.

He added: "Transformation on the scale required in many health systems will not be easy, which is one of the reasons there is a continued focus on transactional approaches. Real change is hard, risky and painful.

"Leaders will need to take a leap of faith to succeed in shifting the focus from short-term delivery to long-term ambition. They should share and learn with their international peers. They will need to empower their people and allow their organizations to innovate and experiment to create new models of care."

Something to teach, Something to learn urges all national health economies to ask themselves if their strategies are robust enough to meet the challenges that lie ahead. It also urges practitioners and policy-makers to look beyond their own systems to see where lessons from other parts of the world could add value.

Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement commented: "It's good to see influential practitioners from around the world taking stock of the enormous trends reshaping healthcare and reaching a consensus that leaders have everything to gain from greater collaboration and shared innovation.

"The rise of rapidly developing economies in Asia, Africa and South America are matched by new visions to improve the health of populations and to deliver high quality care using new technologies and existing resources more efficiently. This work presents healthcare leaders everywhere with new models and huge learning opportunities."

Dr. Britnell concluded: "The report is a call to action for organizations to think about the deep-seated strategies that will enable them to provide better care at lower costs. Powerful examples of how it can be done are out there – we just need to be better at sharing learning."

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Samuel

KPMG International

+1 416 777 8491

About the report

KPMG brought together 40 experts from leading healthcare organizations representing 22 countries in October 2012 to debate the future of healthcare systems and to share learning. The report "Something to teach, Something to learn" captures the outcomes and perspectives of the participants.

Key recommendations from Something to teach, Something to learn: Global perspectives on healthcare:

For payers

  • Organizations will need to be capable of contracting for outcomes and value.
  • Finding new ways to connect with and empower patients to influence their behavior will be crucial.
  • An increased focus on the management of overall population health is needed.
  • The development of new skills and organizational abilities will be a priority.
  • Payers will need to engage with and incentivize providers in new ways to shape their behavior, and create innovation.

For providers

  • Radical new transformational approaches will be needed to create integrated health systems, specialist networks or areas of special expertise.
  • For many providers, the logic will be to take more responsibility for the whole of the patient journey.
  • Investing in leadership will be key, as will the creation of new partnerships with clinical staff.
  • Learning from other markets and better use of information to gain strategic advantage will come to the fore.

For health systems

  • Payers and providers will need to move away from traditional adversarial approaches.
  • Significant structural change will be required, yet the payback for such investment will not be immediate.
  • Payers and providers must understand what constitutes value for patients and build this into every process.
  • Health systems need to develop new channels to talk to patients and to connect them to each other.
  • The best-prepared organizations and systems are investing a significant amount in both teaching and learning as they work towards new ways of operating.

About KPMG's Global Healthcare Practice

Healthcare systems around the globe are facing more complex challenges than ever. KPMG is committed to providing long-term support to our clients as they tackle these challenges and seek to transform the way that healthcare is provided. With deep industry experience, insight and technical support, KPMG firms are among the leaders in delivering a broad range of audit, tax and advisory services to meet the unique needs of healthcare policy-makers, providers and payers.

KPMG has more than 3,000 dedicated professionals in our healthcare team, with skills in strategy development, cost optimization, financial management, clinical performance improvement, market development, tax planning, mergers and acquisitions, commercialization and organizational development. We have one of the largest, best equipped and most experienced healthcare advisory teams.

For more information, please visit the KPMG Global Healthcare practice, or join the conversation on LinkedIn with KPMG Healthcare.

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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Something to teach, Something to learn: Global perspectives on healthcare

This report aims to provide a snapshot of the thinking and learning that emerged from KPMG’s Global Healthcare summit held in Rome.

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