How EY Is Making Public Healthcare Futureproof

Global consultancy firm EY in Canada is at the heart of strategies to bring health care into the digital age.

The long-term survival and growth of public health care systems are among the  biggest goals in the biggest game on the global playing field. But in the turmoil of the first quarter of the 21st century, the rules of the game, its funding and arguably its very survival are under threat. 

EY’s global Health teams are working alongside health care providers to tackle the immense issues systems face. 

Digital integration and the technology driving it are the key to ensuring health care has a future. As the Health Care team at EY explains, it is bringing together central government funding, corporate providers and passionate health care professionals to navigate through the gathering storm and ensure public health care is available and effective for all. 

John Bethel heads up the EY Health Care team in Canada. He says the changes taking place are unprecedented. 

“We are really striving to transform the system into a different way of caring for people,” he says. “The five Cs of change are driving the new Canadian health care system.”

“First, we have complexity. Care is getting more personalized through greater computerization.  This digital migration is moving many health care functions out of the hospitals. So what's left inside hospitals is extremely complex and increasingly aided by more sophisticated technology and tailored individual therapies.

“Second is consumerism, Bethel says. “The App culture, which we use to do everything from banking and retail to dating and booking holidays, has created expectations — especially in the way it assists in scheduling appointments and sharing our health data with physicians. And this is just a start. We’re on the verge of an explosion of digital and virtual health that will include all aspects of our wellness and health care.”  

This technology has the third C issue, capacity.

“People are living longer, but also facing more complex health issues. This means the health care systems are dealing with far more comorbidity issues alongside the growth in cases of dementia.This growing demand and the cost of delivering care creates a relentless pressure on health systems to protect the sustainability of health care.”

This mixture of pressures on the system is creating a convergence in health care according to Bethel. “We are now seeing all kinds of ‘non-industry’ players enter our system and become part of the health care offering. It is technology that has made this possible,” he says. 

“We are seeing players from grocery stores to banks all getting involved in either providing care or helping manage health data.”

Finally, Bethel says the big game-changer was the pandemic. “COVID forced us to change the way we deliver care overnight.”

Putting the building blocks for 21st century health care in place is all well and good. But, according to 

Vinna Vong, senior manager in EY’s Technology Transformation and national Health Care practice, none of this matters if the public doesn’t trust the services on offer. 

“To implement and deploy technology, AI and machine learning in a way that is effective and efficient, you must have trust at the core,” she says. At EY, we pride ourselves on making sure that is a pillar of our work as we guide and advise our clients that trust needs to be anchored in everything they do., Because if a citizen, physician or provider cannot trust the data or the insights they're getting, then there's no success in digital transformation. 

Anand Shah is a partner in EY’s Health team based in Toronto. He says the way EY is collecting and analysing vast amounts of data is providing the fuel to drive change. 

“Smart analytics is enabling health care to apply data in different and effective ways,” he says. 

“We’re seeing the emergence of new precision therapy using information and data at the core of planning. We can pinpoint cancer therapies now using analytics and data instead of the old ‘broad spectrum’ approach. This is vastly improving outcomes for patients. 

“We can use data to define and hone true population health management to truly understand what our populations need and therefore shape our services in a more proactive way. 


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