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Health industries seek resiliency through cloud transformation after pandemic

Among all the industries in our PwC US Cloud Business Survey, health industry leaders report the highest adoption of cloud with 61% telling us that their organizations are all-in on cloud and have scaled it throughout their operations. That compares with 50% of executives across all industries. However, given the wide possibilities cloud presents to help health companies build more resilient infrastructure or transform consumer experience, even those organizations that are all-in likely have room to advance using cloud.

The top focus of health leaders’ cloud strategies? Improving consumer experience. Forty-two percent of health industry leaders identify that as a focus, compared to 29% of all business leaders. Health systems, insurers and pharmaceutical and life sciences companies are focused on taking the lessons learned from the abrupt virtual and digital health explosion forced by the pandemic to fine-tune digital and in-person care. With cloud, they see opportunities to offer patients and their families more intuitive apps and tools that enable omnichannel, digital connections with clinical teams throughout treatment and beyond to critical elements of the healthcare system such as clinical trials. They also see cloud-enabled tools that can gather data from disparate sources to support clinical decision-making. Because we’re all already accustomed to using apps in our daily lives for everything from food delivery to step tracking, it’s not much of a leap to see how health organizations without these sort of options may risk being left behind.

Bar chart - business outcomes have you been trying to achieve through your cloud transformation

Q: To date, which of the following business outcomes have you been trying to achieve through your cloud transformation? Source: PwC US Cloud Business Survey June 15, 2021: Total 524, HI leaders 38

But there are barriers. Ransomware attacks cost the healthcare industry $20.8 billion in downtime in 2020 — also a year that logged the most ransomware attacks on healthcare providers in the past five years — so cybersecurity continues to be top of mind for health organizations. In fact, health leaders tell us cybersecurity and privacy are the top two barriers to achieving value through their cloud strategy. 

And as regulators push the industry toward interoperability, forcing more data-sharing between payers and providers than ever before and enabling patients to directly access their health records on their smartphones, industry leaders also see lack of integration with existing systems as a barrier to achieving value through cloud. Indeed, 39% identify that as an extreme barrier in the healthcare sector, compared to just 23% across all sectors.

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Will Perry

Principal, Atlanta, PwC US

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