Good morning.

Discussions about technology in health care can induce both euphoria (Let’s live forever!) and terror (Change Healthcare’s ransomware attack is still playing out). The transformative power of AI, biotechnology and robotics in medical research is truly exciting. But software that puts powerful information in the hands of health care workers arguably has the greatest potential for transforming lives right now.

This week, I met with several leaders who are on the front lines. Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo talked about how the medical device company’s big bets on software have spurred a focus on transforming workflows well beyond the operating theater. “It’s not a space I would have thought Stryker would have been in five years ago,” said Lobo. “But we just try to solve problems for our customers and we’re going to keep growing there.”

Wolters Kluwer CEO Nancy McKinstry, whose company provides digital health care data, told me that “the players that are going to succeed are the people who have a strong base of customers, along with unique and proprietary data or content.” Most important, of course, is helping them solve tough real-world problems.

For a global view of what health care leaders are experiencing, check out the latest Future Health Index, released this week. It’s a global survey of health care leaders in 14 countries, conducted by Royal Philips, that focuses on the challenges and how they’re addressing them.

The biggest priority for this group is their people: 92% of health care leaders reported seeing a deterioration in their staff’s wellbeing, morale and mental health while 81% reported delays in care because of staff shortages. It’s no surprise, then, that 88% believe technology to automate repetitive tasks is critical for addressing staff shortages, and 82% said virtual care had a positive impact on easing staff shortages at their organizations. The areas where AI is already being used include radiology (27%), in-patient monitoring (23%), preventive care (16%) and remote patient monitoring (16%).

What brought these issues to life for me was a dinner Fortune held with hospital-systems leaders, sponsored by Philips, earlier this week. Along with sharing exciting innovations that are transforming how they deliver service, they talked about the frustration of multiple pilot programs that need to be scaled and insurers whose payment models don’t keep up with innovation, even when there’s demonstrable cost savings in implementing new solutions.

As Jeff DiLullo, chief region leader for Philips North America, said during our discussion: “The technology to address these challenges exists. It takes leadership to decide where to start to make an impact.”  

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Diane Brady

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2024-06-21T09:26:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd