Digital Platforms and Ecosystems in Healthcare: Promises and Pitfalls
COVID-19 has shown how digitization can transform business and society. However, it has also exposed serious vulnerabilities in healthcare systems worldwide, manifested in issues with tracking, managing care pathways, supporting large-scale vaccine trials, and more. We argue that digital platforms and their associated ecosystems will have a key role to play in creating the responsive, flexible, and cost-effective healthcare provision of the future. We review recent advances made by digital platforms and ecosystems in healthcare systems around the world, and consider what is holding them back from their full potential. We find that, in Western economies at least, digital healthcare platforms face a range of challenges, including data privacy regulation, information silos, limited interoperability, intricate stakeholder networks, and complex payment arrangements. We consider how healthcare might be transformed in the future, using successful responses to the pandemic as exemplars, and propose some critical success factors for this transformation to succeed.
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