A Health Care Leadership Agenda for the Post-pandemic World

Leadership Agenda in Health Care — Monday Series

BCG — Boston Consulting Group
Sanjay B. Saxena

Key Message

As the global health care industry entered 2020, it was already facing transformational changes driven by mergers, new alliances, shifting consumer behaviors, and the rise of new competitors. The COVID-19 crisis is disrupting the industry in new ways. It has exposed serious gaps in health care systems and their supply chains, forced providers to radically redesign outpatient care, caused demand for medical procedures to plummet, and led to steep declines in the private health insurance market.

These BCG articles explain how payers, providers, health care systems, and service (PPSS) organizations can navigate uncertainty and thrive in the post-pandemic world by reimagining their organizations.


As we entered 2020, the health care industry already faced transformational changes driven by mergers, new alliances, shifting consumer behaviors, and the rise of new competitors.

The COVID-19 crisis disrupted the industry in additional ways.

  • Heath care systems have had to urgently address gaps exposed by the pandemic, such as critical supply shortages and inadequate infrastructure.
  • Providers have had to radically redesign outpatient care.
  • Telehealth adoption skyrocketed almost overnight.
  • Demand for medical procedures plummeted and will likely never fully recover.

Historically high global unemployment, coupled with public- and private-sector fiscal challenges, is projected to translate into even greater pressure on affordability and steep declines in the private health insurance market.

Payer, provider, health care system, and service (PPSS) organizations are amid an era of unparalleled uncertainty and transition.

To both compete in a pandemic environment and thrive in a post-pandemic world, health care leaders must

  • build on innovative approaches adopted in response to COVID-19 and
  • develop comprehensive initiatives to reposition — and reimagine — their organizations for the future.

Our feature article explains five traits of successful transformative CEOs:

  • They take decisive action quickly.
  • They unlock immediate gains to fund the journey and tell a convincing story of change.
  • They emphasize growth.
  • They can think like a new CEO by shaking up established ways of thinking.
  • And they understand that transformation is a race without a finish line.

Other articles explore the lingering impact that the pandemic will have on health care systems.

  • We assess the profound economic implications for payers and the lessons learned from health care systems in nations that flattened the curve and prevented death.
  • We explain how health systems must develop and implement a new paradigm for outpatient encounters, including initial diagnosis, episodic care, and chronic-disease management.
  • We also suggest how governments can prepare for long-term trends that COVID-19 accelerated, such as the move toward a digital economy, adjustments to global supply chains, and heightened pressures on public finances and services.

In the pages that follow, we provide ideas that leaders can use to win both the current fight and the future.

In continued good health,

Sanjay B. Saxena, MD

Managing Director and Senior Partner
Global Health Care Sector Leader — Payers, Providers,
Health Care Systems & Services

Senior Advisor for Health Care Strategy to BCG — Boston Consulting Group