April 1, 2021
Expanding access to healthcare is about rethinking what’s possible. Through innovation, we can increase the resources available, use them more efficiently, and provide new ways of accessing healthcare. Scalability is key. Before, one doctor treated one patient, requiring a physical location to meet and the presence of both the doctor and patience. Today, patients can access healthcare professionals digitally, automation of many services is possible, and enhanced computing power can make best use of limited human resources.
Healthcare access can be expanded directly through changes in patient experience, as we will see through digital customer experiences, and changing the point of care experience through symptom checkers. Innovation in how people reach health services, and how time is spent when they are in touch with a medical provider, can be very effective in increasing access to care.
Innovation that goes beyond patient touchpoints is also changing healthcare access. Blockchain, a promising new way of sharing information, holds promise both for medicine and health insurance. US-based Decent Health Management offers insights on how blockchain can be a key enabler for making healthcare affordable, efficient, and trustworthy.
Artificial intelligence, particularly its machine learning branch, is changing many aspects of our lives with significant impacts on medicine. It is already expanding medical capacity through the use of computers to do work that previously only highly trained specialists could do. Through the work of AXA Research Fund Artificial Intelligence Chair, Thomas Lukasiewicz, will be even more widely applied to medicine. Machine learning has already proved its potential during the COVID-19 pandemic, with research from AXA Research Fund grantee Santiago Mazuelas being used to predict the severity of cases. Such research holds the promise of helping allocate healthcare resources to plan for the needs of local populations and thereby make healthcare more efficient and accessible.
Innovation is a key lever in expanding healthcare access. By changing how people access care, we can improve efficiency, affordability, and overcome logistical hurdles for reaching medical services. Going behind the scenes with blockchain and artificial intelligence, we can change the healthcare ecosystem and increase the capacity within health systems. The application of technological progress to medicine and insurance is critical for expanding healthcare access.