Imagine the hospital becoming everything, everywhere, all at once

Leading health systems are making significant investments in infrastructure to coordinate care within and outside their walls, according to PwC’s study of 30 top hospital systems. At those hospitals, at least 100 modernization projects are underway with more than 73% of hospitals investing in virtual health/remote care and 70% investing in a digital front door, along with investments in health at home and command centers.

PwC envisions the hospital of the future as a network of physical and virtual delivery assets connected by a single digital system and capabilities, enabling care to be delivered in communities, at home, or in facilities as required by clinicians and preferred by patients.

Creating the hospital of the future

Health systems should re-think capital investments and make programmatic investments in the following new capabilities to move toward the hospital of the future: 

  1. A digital backbone serves as the integrator across care in the facility, care in the community, and care at home, enabling coordination and care delivery of on-site and virtual care. The digital backbone encompasses a robust cloud infrastructure combined with a deep analytics layer and a command center. The command center coordinates supply chain and logistics, predictive analytics and scheduling, and connects with clinicians to provide insights and alerts for care escalations. While many health facilities have opened physical or virtual command centers, they are often fragmented and characterized by limited technology and integrations, basic dashboards, manual processes, disjointed patient experience, and misaligned operations. The hospital of the future must leverage responsible AI and automation to predict and escalate care needs across channels, dynamically forecast demand and manage capacity, and reduce caregiver administrative burden.

  2. The hybrid care team is essential in the face of staffing shortages, burnout and increased demand for virtual care. Care teams need to be redesigned to support a flexible model that provides comprehensive care from hospital to home, physical to virtual. The hospital of the future will harness a hybrid care team enabled to deliver treatment seamlessly in mixed settings, both virtual and onsite. Health systems will train and employ clinicians practiced in engaging with patients across different care venues. Virtual nurses will be trained to admit patients to physical care sites, provide medication reconciliation, guide patients through pre-op, and offer discharge instructions and planning. Care settings, whether physical or virtual, will be designed to facilitate frictionless handoffs between providers, regardless of where clinicians are located.

  3. Remote Care allows health systems to expand their care delivery model beyond the four walls of the hospital to meet consumer demand and shift treatment to more convenient settings. Systems are targeting a growing list of conditions for Hospital at Home programs that aim to provide a better experience, reduced costs, and improved quality outcomes. These programs are supported by remote monitoring technology that allows the care team to manage their patients’ health through data from wearables and other sources. By integrating remote monitoring data with other sources to provide a holistic picture of health, the hospital of the future will play an active role in its patients’ health regardless of care setting, condition, or acuity.

  1. An omni-channel digital front door platform should be built to connect multiple sites of care, whether in person or virtual, creating an integrated and intuitive patient experience. As healthcare consumers grow increasingly more empowered, they are demanding modern solutions that expand how and where they are able to access care and meet the same experience expectations that dominate other aspects of our day-to-day lives. Why can’t accessing a care provider be as easy as one-click shopping online, or any of the other modern conveniences enabled by technology today? Building a digital front door allows health systems to better meet these healthcare consumer experience expectations.

The hospital of the future is changing – from design to location to technology to new roles for health care professionals – all while raising the bar on personalized, patient-centric care delivered more efficiently and conveniently.  For more information, read our article on the Hospital of the future.


Gaurav Mehta, Principal, PwC US 

Alena Taylor, Principal, PwC US

Thom Bales, Principal, PwC US

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