Worldwide: 2017 Global Healthcare Outlook: Making Progress Against Persistent Challenges

Last Updated: 22 February 2017
Article by Karen Taylor

In January, Deloitte published its 2017 Global healthcare sector outlook, which confirms that the challenges of providing and funding health care around the globe have remained fairly persistent over the past few years, and they are unlikely to change in 2017. These, all too familiar challenges, comprise: rising demand and associated costs, growing prevalence of chronic diseases and comorbidities, development of costly clinical innovations; and increasing patient expectations and continued economic turbulence. While these challenges may appear somewhat intractable, green shoots of recovery are now being seen in some areas. This week's blog highlights the key findings from the global healthcare sector report that we believe will resonate with our readers.

The persistent challenges facing health systems across the world

As we found in our own report Vital Signs: how to deliver better healthcare across Europe, health systems share many similar care and cost challenges, however, how they choose to respond is largely influenced by the history, culture, economic and political environment in which the system operates. Moreover, each region, country and community deals with issues based on a unique set of local and national circumstances. For this reason, comparing health system performance is challenging, as they often have multiple complex goals and vary in terms of how much they are prepared to pay for healthcare and what they will trade-off or prioritise.1

The global outlook report notes that many countries are moving from centralised to more localised health management systems and attempting to institute forms of universal coverage in a bid to tackle persistent variations in access and care quality. However, shortages of clinical resources and infrastructure issues are making it increasingly difficult for health systems to sustain current levels of service and affordability. Indeed, the scale of the challenges are likely to escalate globally unless solutions are identified and adopted at scale. For example:

  • global healthcare expenditure is expected to increase from $7 trillion in 2015 to $8.7 trillion by 2020, (with the extent of the increase varying from 2.4 per cent in Latin America, 4.3 per cent in the US and 7.5 per cent in the transition economies)
  • the elderly population (over 65 years of age) is anticipated to increase by 8 per cent from 559 million in 2015 to 604 million in 2020
  • the prevalence of dementia is projected to increase in every region of the world with the total number expected to double every 20 years (from 46.8 million in 2015 to 74.7 million by 2030)
  • chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and respiratory diseases are expected to cost an estimated $4 trillion (50 per cent) of global health care expenditure in 2020
  • the number of people suffering from diabetes is expected to increase from 415 million in 2015 to 642 million in 2040 with China and India having the largest number of diabetes sufferers (some 110 million and 69 million respectively).

Progress towards implementing potential solutions

Due to the complex and interrelated nature of these challenges, care delivery models that use multi-pronged, collaborative, and technology-enabled approaches are more likely to yield positive results. The global outlook report highlights a number of potential solutions, including the use of public-private partnerships to remedy the lack of health care infrastructure; mitigation of access issues through dual systems of public and private health care funding; effective patient engagement to improve patient experience; and the use of technology-enabled, virtual care. Collaborative care models that address behavioral and physical health issues and programmes that tackle the social determinants of health inequality are also expected to help improve patient outcomes and lower costs.

Specific initiatives include:

  • Improving access - the global shortage of general and specialist staff is increasing patient waiting times and affecting their access to diagnosis and treatment. Workforce issues can be seen in both developed and emerging economies, with solutions focussed on identifying and securing the right mix of specialist, primary care, mid-level practitioners and the development of new staffing models. One such example is in Japan where the Government plans to train an additional 250,000 care workers by early 2020 to satisfy demand for elder care. Other examples involve the use of technology to improve access (such as telehealth, mHealth, wearable and implantable patient monitoring devices), especially in remote areas.
  • Containing costs - actions to reduce clinical and administrative waste and improve operational efficiency include consolidation, vertical integration, shifting care to lower-cost and non-traditional care settings, strategic procurement models; clinical pathway redesign, standardised clinical processes, shared service centres and technology-enabled care. In addition, reimagining and reconfiguring economic incentives to incentivise health care organisations to do the right thing, in the right place and at the right time, are critical to the push towards risk-sharing and emerging payment programmes such as outcome and value-based payment models. In addition, advanced health systems are shifting from a "break-fix" model of health care to one focused on prevention and the health of the population rather than episodic and transaction-based treatments.
  • Adding social determinants to the care equation - there is growing recognition among governments, payers, and providers that to manage population health and curb rising costs, social determinants of health and wellness need to be included in the care equation. Social determinants include income, education, living and working conditions, transportation availability, childhood trauma and a range of other environmental factors. In general, people with lower socioeconomic status have greater exposure to health-compromising conditions. However, funding silos exist and communication and collaboration among health and social care providers is often limited, disjointed, or absent even though evidence suggests that collaborative care models which address social determinants can improve patient outcomes and lower costs.
  • Adoption of innovation - technological innovation is increasingly seen as key to improving clinical care and reducing cost. Already, robotic surgery, 3D printing, implantable devices and precision medicine are showing potential in improving outcomes and reducing costs. In addition, big data and analytics are creating opportunities for innovation. While adoption of digital- and technology-enabled care is increasing, many health systems are still on the first digital rung; with funding and employee training issues remaining a barrier to widespread adoption and use. Telemedicine is starting to gain traction across the globe, providing easier access to clinical experts especially in geographic regions with widely dispersed, rural populations, such as Africa and Southeast Asia. The emergence of non-traditional health services and technology providers are disrupting the healthcare marketplace and have the potential to transform the prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease.


The trends and solutions described in the 2017 Global health outlook report highlight the complex nature of the world's healthcare systems and the difficulties in alleviating identified challenges. While there are no universal solutions to the problems countries are facing, there are examples of good performance in most countries that can provide valuable learnings for all healthcare stakeholders. Indeed, as the drivers and evidence for change continue to grow, it is incumbent on all stakeholders to consider whether success in one clinical area, payment model, or geographic region could be replicated in another? Can new technologies solve old problems? Otherwise, we risk an unequal, unaffordable and unsustainable healthcare future.



The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions