Digital Innovation Is Essential to Meeting Healthcare Consumers’ Expectations Post-Pandemic, According to Accenture Report

Accenture’s Digital Health Technology Vision 2021 notes the importance of cloud technology and human ingenuity for the future of healthcare

Senior healthcare executives say that moving to the cloud is among their top priorities as they reimagine how their organizations provide healthcare services to meet consumers’ evolving expectations post-pandemic, according to a new report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2021 report identifies the emerging technology trends that the leaders of healthcare organizations will need to address over the next three to five years to create human-centric, digital-first approaches across their organizations. A key finding: two-thirds (66%) of the nearly 400 healthcare executives surveyed said they expect to move their technology infrastructures to the cloud within the next year, and almost all (96%) said they would do so within three years.

The Future of Healthcare is Now

At the same time, however, the report notes that as healthcare leaders accelerated their innovation timelines during the pandemic to compress decade-long transformation agendas into two- to three-year plans, gaps in their digital technology became even more apparent.

"We are in a radically changing world marked by rapidly evolving healthcare consumer expectations, location-agnostic care needs, and a rise in new ecosystem partnerships that are accelerating the industry several years forward," said Dr. Kaveh Safavi, a senior managing director in Accenture's Global Health practice. "The executive leaders of today and tomorrow will be those who can swiftly respond to a healthcare future that places the human at the heart of everything they do and prioritize technology innovation at the same time."

"Each year, Accenture provides us with a digital tech vision as a roadmap for planning technology strategy and investments for the next few years. In this year's Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision, we find we must skate sooner to meet the puck where it's going," said Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, health economist-advisor and founder of the Health Populi blog. "In 2020, no single sector was as shocked into new operating paradigms as healthcare. This year Accenture points to technology imperatives like the cloud to support organizations' ability to adapt and pivot to democratize innovation on the front lines of care – with that care happening anywhere and everywhere."

Business and Technology Are Inseparable

The research found that to achieve meaningful digital transformation; healthcare leaders must acknowledge that business and technology strategies are increasingly becoming one. The good news is that most healthcare executives agree, with 87% of them saying that their organization's business and technology strategies are becoming inseparable.

The global survey of healthcare executives across six countries combined with industry perspectives provided by Accenture health leaders revealed the following strategies that healthcare organizations need to adopt for future success:

  1. Stack Strategically — Healthcare organizations have access to more technology choices than ever before to improve patients' and their workforces' engagement experiences. As a result, a new era of industry competition is dawning where healthcare organizations are making strategic investments in core digital technologies – social, mobile, analytics, and cloud to remain competitive.
  2. Mirrored World — Growing investments in digital twin technologies (e.g., the internet of things, data streaming, and 5G) give rise to a new generation of organizations and intelligence. In a mirrored world, a healthcare organization's physical world is represented in a digital environment with models of whole factories, supply chains, product life cycles, and more. The technology presents new opportunities for leaders to bring data and intelligence together, ask and answer big questions, and reimagine how they operate, collaborate, and innovate — before making real-world decisions.
  3. I, Technologist — Natural language processing, low-code platforms, robotic process automation, and other technologies are putting powerful capabilities into the hands of people at all levels across the organization.
  4. Anywhere, Everywhere — It's time for organizations to transform remote work from an accommodation to an advantage.
  5. From Me to We — Global disruption ignited a scramble to reimagine partnerships — and multiparty systems gained newfound attention.

Access the full report here.

Accenture's Technology Vision report is released annually and comprises a three-year set of technology trends, with each year's trends are part of a bigger picture; the 2021 report also includes trends from 2020 and 2019. Tracking how these trends evolve over time offers a glimpse into how they may continue to grow in the future.


The Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2021 report is derived from Accenture's most recent annual Tech Vision 2021 report, which predicts key trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years. Accenture gathered input from the Technology Vision External Advisory Board, conducted interviews with technology luminaries and industry experts from the public and private sectors, academia, venture capital, and entrepreneurial companies. Accenture Research conducted a global survey of 6,241 executives from 31 countries and 14 industries, including 113 health insurance executives in the U.S. and 286 health provider executives globally, with 136 in the U.S and 30 each in the U.K., Brazil, Finland, Norway, and Australia. The survey was fielded from December 2020 through January 2021.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology, and Operations services — all powered by the world's largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 537,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners, and communities. Visit us at

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