Vodafone has announced a new strategic alliance with Deloitte that will see the launch of the Vodafone Centre for Health, aiming to bring together its connected health solutions with Deloitte’s healthcare consulting experience to enable many more people to access healthcare when and where they need it.
The companies say the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity to deliver critical services such as education and healthcare, and that technology can be used to make the delivery of healthcare services more efficient for providers and more inclusive for patients.
With the Vodafone Centre for Health, the partners say they can offer a virtual centre for digital, technology and healthcare professionals from the two organisations working together to simplify access to connected healthcare and systems for both patients and healthcare professionals. A recent survey by the Vodafone Institute revealed that 92% of European citizens think the health sector needs urgent support through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.
Commenting on the contribution that connectivity can make to future healthcare systems, Lucien Engelen, global strategic healthcare innovation adviser Erasmus MC, Laurentius MC and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said: “Digitisation is making its way to patients and professionals to become normalised. It will provide a significant contribution to the accessibility and sustainability of healthcare now and in the future.”
Shafi Ahmed, consultant colorectal surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, added: “Covid has demonstrated the incredible value of collaboration between healthcare providers and industry partners to help redesign and reimagine the patient experience and improve outcomes. Connected health is vital in delivering more accessible, smart, remote and data-driven personalised care.”
The Vodafone Centre for Health with Deloitte is seen as being able to accelerate this support through innovation and the enhanced digitisation of healthcare in hospitals, in the community and at home.
Vodafone and Deloitte say they are committed to using their networks and capabilities to improve access and quality of care worldwide. Starting across Europe, the Vodafone Centre for Health with Deloitte will then expand its capabilities to other geographies.
Vodafone already connects more than 20 million healthcare devices globally though the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, 5G and edge computing to the healthcare sector. For example, Vodafone and Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf are building Europe’s first 5G campus network at the university hospital.
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Commenting on the alliance with Deloitte, Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said: “This strategic alliance will act as an accelerator of digital solutions to support the transformation of healthcare services and to help the societies we serve. As a digital enabler, we want to bring Vodafone’s technology and platforms, coupled with Deloitte’s depth of sector experience, to support the digitisation of hospitals, telemedicine, virtual medical consultations and remote solutions.”
Deloitte has 24,000 professionals in its global life sciences and healthcare team and has a history of providing services to healthcare organisations adopting digital healthcare systems, including delivering medical supplies by drone and using IoT technology to monitor patients’ feeding tubes. Over the next decade, it predicts that connected healthcare technology will see about one-third of outpatient visits and half of GP consultations conducted virtually.
Richard Houston, CEO of Deloitte North and South Europe, said: “The pandemic has widened inequalities within our society and the provision of healthcare is not as accessible or as inclusive as it should be. We want to change that, and technology will play a critical role.
“Over the next two decades, healthcare as we know it will be completely transformed, with digital and connected healthcare solutions providing new and more efficient ways to diagnose, treat and support patients. Deloitte and Vodafone will be at the heart of this – working together to do so at scale, using our digital skills to transform healthcare provision for everyone.”