Press release

28 Apr 2020 London, GB

COVID-19 crisis provides ‘burning platform’ for accelerating the data agenda in health care, EY report finds

LONDON, 28 APRIL 2020. The unprecedented challenges facing global health care systems as a result of COVID-19 reveal the urgent need for the global adoption of a data-driven, personalized approach to health and wellness, according to the Five Trends Driving the Emergence of the Personalized Health Ecosystem report.

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Related topics Life Sciences Health Growth
  • Five trends drive the emergence of the personalized health ecosystem
  • Health care data exponentially more powerful if connected, combined and shared

The unprecedented challenges facing global health care systems as a result of COVID-19 reveal the urgent need for the global adoption of a data-driven, personalized approach to health and wellness, according to the Five Trends Driving the Emergence of the Personalized Health Ecosystem report. While organizations have long recognized the potential of technology to capture and use data to transform their industry, until now, they have lacked the “burning platform” that the pandemic provides to make changes imperative.

Pamela Spence, EY Global Health Sciences and Wellness Industry Leader, says:

“The human cost of the COVID-19 crisis is insurmountable and it has elevated the need to place health care on a different footing to proactively anticipate and manage the challenges that will emerge in the future. This will require organizations to rethink how health care is delivered and move toward a truly personalized, data-driven ecosystem. If organizations can seize the opportunity to sharpen their data strategies and refine their business models, they can position themselves to lead and demonstrate value.”

One of the trends the report explores is how the crisis has provided the urgency needed to accelerate the progress of new approaches and mindsets that will allow the transformation of health care. According to the report’s findings, if this transformation takes place, the health sciences and wellness industry could see a global approach to health that is not only effective against future infectious disease outbreaks, but also the slower-burning chronic disease crises, from diabetes and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Global efforts to contain COVID-19 rapidly demonstrated that health care data are exponentially more powerful if they can be connected, combined and shared. However, in most geographies, data is trapped in siloes, fragmented across different systems and different organizations, making it impossible to rapidly integrate and analyze, and limiting the information’s effectiveness in assisting real-time health care efforts. According to the report, addressing this challenge requires a new way of thinking; organizations must focus less on owning and monetizing data and more on connecting and combining it to drive valuable insights that can transform health care.

There are still major challenges to realizing the vision of a personalized health ecosystem. The report outlines four additional trends organizations will need to focus their efforts to build a data-driven future:

  • With sensors in, on and around us 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) will create a new network for transforming health care: These technologies together will form the basis of a new network, essential to delivering health care. Sensors ubiquitously present, will provide rich, continuous stream of data via next-generation broadband networks for real-time AI analysis.
  • To personalize health, organizations must use data to understand and influence behavior: Behavioral science has proved among the most important mechanisms for defeating COVID-19, as governments have urged social distancing measures. Looking ahead, it will be critical for organizations to develop behavioral science tools in ways that can increase treatment efficacy and affordability. Bigger datasets and more powerful AI feedback loops will allow a better mix of products and personalized services and solutions for optimized health outcomes.
  •  A trusted intelligence system is needed to secure the participation of the patient-consumer and other stakeholders: Trust and collaboration between stakeholders has been necessitated by the fight against COVID-19 but the underlying challenges regarding cybersecurity and AI remain. As connectivity is central to health care, developing a trusted cyber protection that can secure the necessary large-scale exchanges of data between stakeholders and AI systems that can analyze it, will be critical. 
  • Organizations must be decisive in the business model they choose to pursue in the future: Capital is likely to be even more constrained in the wake of the pandemic and organizations must move towards more focused business models to secure value in the future. For many organizations, the challenge post-COVID-19 will remain: to identify what business model they can best adopt and to acquire the data that will make them most effective in this area.

The full EY report is available at


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About EY Health Sciences and Wellness

The rise of the empowered consumer, coupled with technology advancements and the emergence of digitally focused entrants, is changing every aspect of health and care delivery. To retain relevancy in today’s digitally focused, data-infused ecosystem, all participants in health care today must rethink their business practices, including capital strategy, partnering and the creation of patient-centric operating models.

The EY Health Sciences and Wellness architecture brings together a worldwide network of 28,000 professionals to build data-centric approaches to customer engagement and improved outcomes. We help our clients deliver on their strategic goals; design optimized operating models; and form the right partnerships so they may thrive today and succeed in the health systems of tomorrow. We work across the ecosystem to understand the implications of today’s trends, proactively finding solutions to business issues and to seize the upside of disruption in this Transformative Age.