Six Ways Future Healthcare Will Emphasize Individualized Care

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , April 7, 2010

6. Workforce. Seventy percent of health leaders interviewed by PwC said their systems would be more efficient if they had more primary care physicians; 79% said they needed more nurses. Systems must redesign care models to meet the expected workforce shortages amid demands for customized care, PwC said.

In addition, individuals' relationships with their healthcare delivery models are changing and will be shaped by five touchpoints that can make care more personalized. Health systems can use these touchpoints as a toolkit to assist patients in changing their roles in healthcare:

Coordinated care teams. Consumers said they want better coordination of care, according to PwC. However, 40% of health leaders surveyed said handoffs among clinicians are difficult or very difficult.

Fluent navigators. No matter where they live, chronically ill patients need help to navigate the health system on their own. While nearly half of global consumers said it was easy or very easy to understand their medical condition, consumers also said it was much harder to access a specialist than a primary care physician.

Patient experience benchmarks. Access to care was the top attribute that defined quality care, according to PwC's survey of global consumers. Many governments are responding to this by setting access targets, such as wait times for primary care, emergency care, and surgery.

Medical proving grounds. In PwC's survey of global health leaders, almost half said they thought medical tourism would increase in the next five years. The medical tourism industry will split between those shopping for low cost and those searching for new science and value.

Care anywhere networks. The definition of access is being redefined through the use of wireless mobile devices, PwC said. One third of consumers surveyed said they would consider healthcare delivered over the phone or Internet. Half of health leaders surveyed said they're expanding access to care in patients' homes, which are increasingly wired with networked devices.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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