Healthcare is pivoting to innovation and resilience in the post-pandemic era—and 2024 brings the potential of a more integrated and human-centered system of care. Discover what the future holds in Slalom's 2024 healthcare industry outlook.
The butterfly effect describes the phenomenon through which the slightest disturbance in a complex system can lead to large-scale and unpredictable change.
In the case of COVID-19, a virus mutation sparked a chain reaction that continues to ripple across our healthcare landscape—from chronic workforce shortages to the proliferation of digital health and retail care delivery.
The initial chaos caused by COVID-19 was devastating, and we continue to experience challenges from the resulting despair and delayed medical care. However, the prevailing tremors have shaken longstanding assumptions in our healthcare industry, bringing new opportunities for a more integrated and human-centered system of care.
Chaotic change is a never-ending process whereby a system simultaneously falls apart and comes back together, continuously reinventing itself to become more resilient amidst pervasive disorder and uncertainty. Our 2024 healthcare outlook explores the disorder in our healthcare industry and the opportunities to convert reverberating chaos into constructive creativity.
“And while it may be uncomfortable—even painful at times, this dance we call Chaos clearly motivates us to grow and to learn—arguably the most significant exercise for survival in our constantly changing world.”
Liz Taylor, City University of New York
Making space for innovation with micro changes
Regenerative medicine seeks to replace or restore damaged or missing cells, tissues, or organs to regain or enhance function. The core principles of regenerative medicine—rejuvenation, regeneration, and replacement—are shifting the care paradigm from symptomatic treatment to curative treatment, as seen through incredible advancements such as CAR T-cell therapy.
But what if we applied that same concept to the policies, institutions, and resources that deliver our healthcare services? We have an obligation—borne out of the trauma and anguish of the last three years—to systemically evaluate and, where appropriate, regenerate everything from coverage policies to provider contracts, population health strategies, and models of care.
Researchers in the hospitality industry applied the chaotic perspective to consider how hotels could recover from the pandemic. Adapting their crisis management framework to our healthcare system provides a lens to reflect on the current healthcare environment and commit to learning and adapting on the path forward.
During a time of complex challenges, renewal does not have to mean major investments and systemic changes. Looking for the “damaged or missing” components and developing a roadmap of micro changes will improve patient and provider safety and enhance healthcare economics and outcomes.
In the following sections, we will dive deeper into our 2024 predictions and some potential solutions to rethink a system of health that works for everyone:
Compounding fragility and aging
Economic pressure and material inflation
Healthcare workforces seek solutions to recover and thrive
Rising disease of despair
Digital health's maturity milestones and new horizons
Realizing value from data and AI
Converting volatility into hybrid systems of care
Investing in long-term health system resilience
Introduction by Jacque Myers