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

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an array of novel challenges for healthcare systems. Most importantly, it has also amplified the impact of existing challenges. These include stretched resources, fragile supply chains and poor health population management capabilities.

Infection rates are still high, while most vaccination campaigns have been delayed. The backlog of postponed appointments and care activities is accumulating. Recovery, it seems, is still some way off. Many healthcare organisations, however, are taking stock of the experience and are making themselves more resilient, based on:

  1. Increased collaboration and automation. 30% of EU healthcare providers have invested in modern collaboration tools (IDC EMEA COVID-19 Impact Survey, December 2020). Collaborative digital work environments enable access to the best skills and knowledge, and are driving more performing and resilient teams of healthcare professionals. Investments in intelligent automation technology are also boosting resilience and employee well-being. Healthcare professionals can focus on patients and can spend less time on repetitive tasks. The impact of this on the cost and quality of care is huge.
  2. Accelerated care delivery innovation. Healthcare providers have had to pivot to technology to take care of patients. The adoption rate for telehealth has taken a giant leap forward. Spending on virtual care solutions will increase by 23% in 2021 (IDC EMEA COVID-19 Impact Survey, December 2020). Many health systems have had to build up from scratch their virtual care capabilities. Now they will need to address the operational and infrastructural gaps that have emerged. Investments in infrastructure modernisation will be paramount to sustain digital health services growth.
  3. Improved intelligence capabilities and a new approach to data. The organisations that have performed better during the outbreak are those that have been able to widely use data to streamline operations and patient outcomes. Enriching workflows with real-time insights has been essential for the crisis response. These organisations are showing the way on how to use intelligent technologies, with 41% of European providers now using technology to get actionable insights about patients and operations. Healthcare decision makers rely on access to real-time data from a variety of sources, and are therefore investing in technologies that enable:
  • Data liquidity to access, ingest and manipulate data sets
  • Data integration to increase the quality of information
  • Data analysis to identify and discover patterns and interdependencies

How Can Healthcare Organisations Embrace These Capabilities for Recovery?

COVID-19 has taught us some hard lessons on how to increase resilience and agility. Three recovery capabilities will support the healthcare sector moving forward — to develop these capabilities in a sustainable manner, healthcare organisations need to:

  • Educate healthcare professionals to operate with supportive automated technologies and collaborative technologies. This will show up with a renewed future of work scenario. A scalable digital workforce can execute processes that don’t need human intervention. This will enable healthcare professionals to focus on higher-value diagnosis and treatment processes.
  • Adopt analytical tools to inform their decision processes. Healthcare providers will need to continuously optimise and automate processes and management systems. To design intelligent clinical workflows, they need to invest in advanced analytics tools. This will speed up the shift from being data rich to being data driven, creating new experiences for patients, the workforce and partners.
  • Define an enterprisewide digital strategic plan. European healthcare systems are accelerating their digital transformation (DX), and the success of telehealth in responding to the crisis is encouraging this shift. The hospital of the future will be a digitally connected community. Primary care will take on much more responsibilities, aided by decision-support technology. Healthcare will become more preventive, personalised and precise. Healthcare organisations must see DX as an imperative of their business strategy.

To learn more about the road to resilience and growth in the aftermath of COVID-19, check out the IDC European Healthcare Executive Summit. Join top European leaders at the summit in discussing the role of digital investments in the wider transformation of health systems.


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

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