The modern health consumer is accustomed to technology making their lives easier,

‘Our health system is devoted almost overwhelmingly to sick care which is unsustainable says Aloha McBride Global Health Advisory Leader at EY

21st January, 2020
The modern health consumer is accustomed to technology making their lives easier,

What's your name?

Aloha McBride

What position do you hold?

I’m the Global Health Advisory Leader at EY.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I share leading practices, knowledge and innovation with EY’s healthcare clients so they may provide the highest quality care to their patients.

I use my experience to transform strategies, operating models and culture. I believe that when we focus on building shared accountability, governance and a culture that values transdisciplinary learning and improvement, our health systems can benefit.

What is your professional background?

Prior to joining EY, I held roles leading federal health and other commercial industry clients across the Americas with other consulting firms.

I hold an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. I am a Project Management professional and I serve on the board of The Code of Support Foundation.

You are speaking at the 2020 National Health Summit. What are you speaking about?

My talk is titled ‘How digital is enabling the transformation of healthcare”.

In the past, health data has been fragmented, so people weren’t able to get the best care at the right time. They were living longer, but not necessarily better.

However, with rapid advances in technology and the digitisation of healthcare, that is changing. The modern health consumer is accustomed to technology making their lives easier, speedier, and more convenient and they expect simplified, coordinated interactions throughout their care journey.

As a result, promising social and behavioural changes in consumers and how they approach health and wellness are beginning to emerge. Consumers are empowered to take active ownership of their health and now have ready access to previously unavailable insights about their total health. This power shift - from supply (provider, payer) to demand (patient/health consumer) is emerging as people expect the health ecosystem to deliver what they already have in other areas of their lives: Connectivity, mobility, agility, transparency, immediacy, and the tools for self-direction.

What main challenges do you see for the healthcare sector in Ireland?

The Irish healthcare sector faces many of the same challenges that are being seen globally, including an ageing population and increased incidence of chronic disease. Access to services also continues to be a major challenge.

The unique point for Ireland however is that the number of over 65s has increased by 35% since 2009 and each year this cohort continues to increase by 20,000 – a much higher rate than seen in other European countries. Add to this that 50% of this population have chronic illness or health issues, the shortage in medical capacity, the aforementioned access issues and you understand the strain that the system is facing.

Building a digital ecosystem for health is key to addressing these challenges. We believe that there are three pillars that work symbiotically to deliver effective digital transformation: a clear strategy with strong buy-in, the political leadership to drive the strategy and a dedicated ‘e-health’ office with a ring-fenced budget are all essential. Therefore, Ireland has the potential to fully address the issues faced particularly as the government displays strong appetite for tech driven solutions to the challenges presented.

Where would you like to see the health service in 10 years’ time?

Our health system is devoted almost overwhelmingly to sick care which is unsustainable. I would like to see real progress made in the implementation of our integrated care programmes. Technology has a pivotal role to make this happen - it can empower patients leveraging telehealth and telemedicine, and real-time analytics can improve care and enable a shift towards prevention.

Apart from a digital agenda, we need to reconfigure our acute services, increase bed capacity, recruit more doctors and nurses, and build up community and primary care services. Only then will we see a real improvement in access to our services.

Finally, cc where there are clear roles and accountability between the Department of Health, the HSE and health service providers.

Despite the challenges I am optimistic for the future - we have a clear strategy, we have government buy-in and a strong appetite for our digital agenda, and above all, we have fantastic people working in our health service who want things to improve and are willing to make change happen.

Aloha will be speaking at the 2020 Health Summit on February 6 in Croke Park, Dublin.

For more details see

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