Adriana Allocato
Adriana Allocato (Research Manager, Health Insights, IDC Europe)
Silvia Piai
Silvia Piai (Research Director, Health Insights)
Nino Giguashvili
Nino Giguashvili (Research Manager, IDC Health Insights for Europe)

If the last two years were about digital acceleration, 2022 will be about establishing and consolidating digital innovation best practices in healthcare and life sciences. These best practices involve how organisations PLAN and DEVELOP innovation. Business needs are determining the development of digital tools and products.

Best practices also include how organisations SOURCE innovation. They are relying more on ecosystems to share data, capabilities, and digital products. Our research shows that 70% of European healthcare and life sciences organisations have joined or plan to join a digitally enabled industry ecosystem exactly for those reasons. By not wasting time in reinventing the digital wheel, we have seen shorter development cycles and greater integration and interoperability across these ecosystems.

To investigate this new approach to innovation, IDC Health Insights Europe is watching the following four trends for this year:

Data as the Connective Tissue and the Fuel for Healthcare and Life Sciences

Access to accurate, up to date data has always played a critical role for healthcare delivery, and COVID-19 proved this once again. Turning to data to plan capacity or track patients is helping to understand the impact of the pandemic and how to manage it.

Intelligent technologies—powered by AI—will foster a data-driven culture with clear advantages for key applications, such as:

  • Discovering innovative treatments for patients
  • Delivering better-quality care
  • Improving operational efficiency

It looks like a perfect future if health systems can rely on efficient data integration. But 60% of European healthcare providers can’t access critical data to support their decision-making processes. Privacy and compliance regulations along with data fragmentation are the primary challenges. How organisations invest to holistically manage people and processes using data will define their competitive edge in the years to come.

Infrastructure and Digital Readiness Race

Hospitals and other providers are increasingly turning to telehealth services, remote care solutions, patient management platforms, and self-service portals in response to the COVID-19 crisis. To achieve the expected benefits, these solutions require IT infrastructure that is reliable, scalable, and high performance.

Nevertheless, only 12% of European healthcare providers are running their applications on a consistent cloud-centric architecture. To implement a more robust approach to underlying IT infrastructure, organisations will leverage:

  • A hybrid and multicloud approach for consistent and predictable workload to find the right balance between innovation, performance requirements and privacy.
  • Rich and dependable connectivity to deploy interconnected medical devices and intelligent solutions.

The modern infrastructure will be able to manage and store data from different sources and environments and provide an integrated and structured view of the same. By modernising their infrastructure, healthcare organisations can decrease operational costs, enable higher quality healthcare, increase reliability, and improve IT staff satisfaction.

Engaging with Patient Sapiens: Approaching Digital Determinants of Health

Patients today demand more convenience, customisation, and control over their care, along with the best clinical outcomes. 

So, how do we serve this Patient Sapiens of the new digital era? Digital technologies have emerged as key enablers. For example, thanks to telehealth and virtual care technologies, many homes have become true extensions of hospitals during the pandemic. But now healthcare players need to mainstream these technologies to support sustainable improvements in care access, quality, and personalisation of care. 

Over 60% of European healthcare providers invested in telehealth initiatives in 2021 and plan to invest more this year. As they increasingly recognise the value of R&D and innovation, over 65% of European life science companies plan to invest in digital patient engagement initiatives this year.

The role of digital technology is growing at every single touchpoint of patients’ journeys.  In fact, their role is so essential that digital is increasingly positioned among the key determinants of health.

The Workforce Transformation Race: Variety, Value and Vision

Healthcare and life science organisations are struggling with the immediate workforce challenges created by the pandemic. Meanwhile, they are preparing for the longer term, whether around expanded collaboration, new care delivery models, or innovative treatments and products.

Over a third of European healthcare and life science organisations are planning to invest in intelligent workspace solutions this year. Digital is expanding the variety of work models, supporting flexible and hybrid work models, and enabling, for example, remote collaboration, decentralised clinical trials, or virtual care.

Digital is also helping to maximise value: user-friendly industry solutions, such as workflow automation and decision-support tools, allow employees to focus on patients and higher value tasks, driving a greater sense of purpose and empowering them further.

Digital therefore allows organisations to execute on the vision to attract, retain, and nurture a future-ready workforce. This is possible thanks to various solutions for human capital management, intelligent staffing and scheduling, or interactive training. Digital technologies are also increasingly deployed to support workplace wellbeing programs at European organisations.


To learn more about IDC Health Insights’ upcoming research, please contact Silvia Piai, Nino Giguashvili, or Adriana Allocato, or head over to and drop your details in the form on the top right.