As we continue to cautiously manage through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to think about how we can transform our healthcare system to be Fit for Purpose. This includes exploring whether we’re investing strategically in and structuring our health systems to deliver on the Quintuple Aim, an updated term recently put forward by US researchers that sets out five key pillars: improved provider experience, patient outcomes and patient experience, lower cost of care and health equity.1
In a static environment, balancing these goals is hard enough. Our environment today is certainly not static. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated existing challenges across Canadian health systems.
In my role, I have an opportunity to work with the many healthcare organizations that are taking action to address these challenges. As the pressure to transform continues to grow, we see further opportunities for organizations to adopt solutions to manage and mitigate rising demands and shore up capacity while delivering on the promise of the Quintuple Aim.
Before exploring the solutions in detail, it’s important to first examine some of the forces of change creating pressure on the healthcare system. A key issue is our aging population. Based on estimates by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, seniors accounted for about 17% of Canada’s population in 2017. In the next two decades, this is expected to rise to about 25% of the population. Coupled with a rising prevalence of dementia that will result in more patients requiring higher levels of support in their final years, we can expect to see even more strain on our already fragile acute and long-term care sectors. And as healthcare organizations grapple with these pressures, they continue to try to catch up on procedural activities that were paused during repeated COVID-19 waves in the last two years.
To stay ahead of these forces of change, many organizations are embracing opportunities to shift demand away from our institutional care system. Examples include:
While these efforts to shift demand from institutional care are making a difference, the healthcare system faces a critical need to embrace other ways to strengthen capacity and resilience. Our experience during the pandemic made this clear, especially as acute and critical care capacity became key determinants in the adoption or loosening of public health measures during each wave of COVID-19.
The good news is there are many opportunities for healthcare organizations to increase capacity. Examples include:
These are just some of the opportunities for healthcare organizations to ensure sustained outcomes as they look for ways to better navigate the pressures they face and create capacity to deliver on the goals of the Quintuple Aim. At PwC Canada, we’ve seen how a human-led and technology-enabled approach to these challenges can help organizations accelerate the transformation needed in our health system. This will be key to not only addressing the most pressing challenges of today but also becoming more resilient in the future.
In my new role as PwC Canada’s Healthcare Leader, I look forward to mobilizing our community of solvers, building trust and partnering with stakeholders across the health system to solve these important problems. To discuss the path forward for your organization, please contact me at any time.
1 Nundy, Shantanu; Cooper, Lisa; Mate, Kedar, “The quintuple aim for health care improvement,” JAMA, January 21, 2022.