The Health November 2020 | Page 25

Healthcare companies would do well to be pro-active to reclaim their competitive stance
Talking ESG

| Healthcare Management |

November , 2020 | The Health


3D-printing , remote care , Electronic Health Reports ( EHR ), Blockchain and Virtual Reality .

Sustainable Agile approach to healthcare during Covid-19

Healthcare companies would do well to be pro-active to reclaim their competitive stance

The Agile approach denotes a

method of project management , which started as non-linear methodology in software development . It involves the division of tasks into short phases of work and iterative or frequent reassessment that helps teams deliver value to customers .
It will require a combination of an organisation ’ s stability and dynamism to operate , well illustrated by a smartphone which is a stable platform with a plethora of useful applications . Another illustration is Steve Jobs ’ dynamism where he required the stability of John Sculley from Pepsi Cola to work with Apple during the earlier days .
Healthcare companies are facing an increasingly complex customer landscape with the advent of disruptive innovation and technology and growing competition of new entrants into the healthcare marketplace . In addition , the Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated market challenges . To be part of the nimble market participants , healthcare companies would do well to be pro-active and apply Agile principles to reclaim their competitive stance .
Imagine going into an Agile war room in a healthcare company that is furnished with mobile furniture , white board with wet ink dusters , charts on the wall and sticker papers with various experts in attendance .
This team is assisted outside by hundreds who are end users . The team will work endlessly until every stakeholder is satisfied that the team has fulfilled the intermittent goals set .
Welcome to the realm of the Agile way of working and a snapshot of its processes above . It is among Fortune 500 companies ’ best kept secrets . Protagonists and practitioners have welcoming words like , “ Have the alacrity to go for agility ”.
Driving the Agile concept
It is worth noting that sustainable development is in one of the principles found in Agile manifestos . Also , as Sustainability ESG 2020 promotes efficiency and cutting down on wastage , it sees the Agile way of working as efficacious in optimising socio-economic aspects of society .
I see it as a braided multi-section peoplecentric undertaking where various fields of expertise are intertwined and driven by technology on a path for a common purpose . The organisation , amoebic and malleable , is beaten into shape as required by the participants during the various projects .
Chess principles drive the Agile concept and ESG 2020 believes the chess pieces as workings codes make compelling imagery ( please see illustration ).
It would be pointless if companies were to grope in the dark not knowing which aspects of Agile to work on , hence , the need for a guiding compass to identify , show the way and speed up the transformation . PWC ’ s Strategy in its research identified six key success factors . They are :
• Ensure to empower teams and speed as the most important Agile principles .
• Agile opportunities exist along the entire value chain but focus must be on the most promising parts : search for new drugs or vaccines , access to markets , and marketing and sales
• Immediately transform all four organisational building blocks for agility that comprise culture , organisation , ways of working and infrastructure
• Decide on the right dose of Agile for the organisation as a whole and for its units .
• Do a targeted piloting methodology and appoint representatives to rapidly adopt Agile
• To maintain and sustain relationship between Agile and traditional parts of the company These key success factors may help companies to effectively transform to Agile to counter the Covid-19 pandemic ’ s accompanying issues like treatment and care , disruption to supply chains and to develop capabilities for future healthcare . It is the dynamism of the Agile approach over the traditional Waterfall methodology .
Medical innovations disrupting the healthcare industry Innovations that disrupt the healthcare industry can be incorporated in Agile undertakings whether to innovate or adopt . They include the Internet of Things ( IoT ), precision medicine , retail clinics ,

Talking ESG

Healthcare companies are facing an increasingly complex customer landscape with the advent of disruptive innovation and technology and growing competition of new entrants into the healthcare marketplace .”
Aspirations of ESG 2020 There are a myriad of literature , articles , tips and advice out there regarding the Agile approach . Sustainability ESG 2020 believes that for any undertaking to transform using Agile principles it must first have the following prerequisites as effective pre-emptive moves : 1 ) Data analytics With the right data and information or even resorting to Big Data can a company make decisions and take calculated future actions including where to apply the Agile principles and in what intensity to the whole organisation ? Data collection is from claims and costs data , clinical data , pharmaceutical and R & D , customer behaviour and sentiment data . It is essential that Blockchain is included for enhanced data security . 2 ) Patient participation – consumerism We should not underestimate the importance of patient participation during an early inception of a project . Over the years , consumerism has reached healthcare which resulted in patient participation , transparency , clear pricing policies , efficient treatment of patients and patient satisfaction . Through dedicated involvement of patients in surveys and treating them as an important part of the piloting project , EHRs especially have been more effective due to their immersive involvement . This is part of Agile principles of getting all stakeholders involved . 3 ) Part of socio-economic / social capital Asian Megatrend Part of the socio-economic or social capital of the future Asian megatrend as proposed by McKinsey is where people work together in organizations or communities to reach a common goal . The Covid-19 pandemic best illustrates the concerted effort of communities and countries around the world working together to contain the virus . Online healthcare technology and processes enable doctors and healthcare experts to interact online in real time . Agile healthcare projects can do well to help free up treatment and beds for Covid-19 patients by treating those with more common sicknesses at home through remote care . 4 ) Leadership Strong leadership is needed in analysing and making use of data analytics and is skewed to sustainable development and motivates a fired up and enthusiastic Agile team . 5 ) Setting Up Agile healthcare hubs Similar to the digital hubs , Agile healthcare hubs can be set up for medical and corporate enthusiasts , and college students . The hubs can be coordinated by Agile mentors or be ably handled by self-organizing teams . The hub can provide the continuous vibrant platform for a healthy Agile culture , especially skewed towards addressing critical future healthcare challenges . The Covid-19 pandemic experience has been a painful learning curve and needs to be flattened through Agile means and the results shared .
Apple ’ s early ‘ halcyon ’ days already illustrated the most basic Agile ways of working where Job ’ s office is filled with flexible and rearrangeable cubicles that can be adjusted according to the nature and size of project . Today ’ s agile war room is the heart of the nimble ways of responding to challenges , especially the scourge of Covid-19 . — The Health
Zulkifli Ahmad is the founder of Sustainability ESG 2020 , a think-tank advocating ideas and actions on sustainability .