Human: Solving the Global Workforce Crisis in Healthcare – Mark Britnell

28 Mar 2019

HUMAN – Solving the Global Workforce Crisis in Healthcare book launch (1) in Australia is on 10 and 11 April in Melbourne and Sydney.  Kevin Hardy met up with author, Mark Britnell, in London in March as he has over a number of years since they first met. They are the conversations that inspire. Mark is the Global Chairman & Senior Partner for Healthcare, Government & Infrastructure at KPMG International. He oversees revenues of $6 billion supporting 40,000 staff across 157 countries. 

Available: 11th April 2019 ISBN: 9780198836520 Number Of Pages: 216

He is one of the foremost global experts on healthcare systems and has a pioneering and inspiring global vision for health in both the developed and developing world. Mark has dedicated his entire professional life to healthcare and has led organisations at local, regional, national and global levels – provider and payer, public and private. Over the past 9 years, he has worked in 75 countries gaining a unique first-hand experience.

Kevin: Why did you title the book “Human”?

I called the book Human for two reasons: firstly, the essence of care is all about the kind heart and warm touch of a human being and, secondly, I believe humans are capable of solving huge problems such as the global workforce crisis in healthcare if we collectively put our minds to it.

Kevin: You say that we have to reframe the debate about workforce planning and shift our thinking to productivity, health and wealth creation. What do you mean by that?

We face a world in healthcare where there is too much work with too few workers (an 18 million shortfall by 2030). We need to become more productive in care delivery. Productivity is the catalyst for economic growth, wealth creation and wage increases. So health is wealth. And we need to reframe the health debate to one of national productivity.

Kevin; In fact, you talk about a 20% increase in productivity. How must the future look to achieve this?

To achieve a 20% increase in productivity (and this close the anticipated workforce gap by 2030) we need to reimagine healthcare and adopt the ten solutions outlined in my book. Content chapters are:

Kevin: You have travelled the world looking at 80 or so systems. How do you think we can learn and adapt from each other in order to fit our own context and challenges?

As I said in my first book – In Search of the Perfect Health System – which looked at comparative and relative strengths and weaknesses of 25 country health systems, every country has something to teach and every country has something to learn. I outline 12 facets of a Perfect Health System drawn from different countries across the world.

Kevin: Technology changes faster that we seemingly can adapt. What things can AI, Genomics, Digital change predict in terms of health status and conditions long term? Therefore, does that lead us to being able to identify future circumstances like domestic violence, addictions etc and potentially work a lot more closely with other agencies to better manage conditions and save lives (and hence find ways to achieve the 20% productivity gains you talk about)?

Yes, AI can be used to improve population health management by supporting patients with long term conditions. It’s already being used in Israel, for example.

Kevin: Do you have a view about how to start this or give it a focus?

The Clalit HMO in Israel is already using AI to segment and stratify its population to provide more anticipatory care. In the new book, I look at 5 clinical trends that will drive 16% to 20% productivity. These 5 trends are being implemented in different places across the world. So, we need better diffusion and adoption.

Kevin: Sometimes I get the impression that we give away our power and stop taking responsibility for our health. How do we overcome this?

I dedicate an entire chapter to patients as partners and communities as carers. For example, Montifore Health System in the Bronx, New York uses remote patient monitoring to reduce hospitals admissions by 30% while relatives are paid (and trained) in Germany to care for aged family members at home.

Kevin: What is the role of remote and digital; primary care; self-responsibility; integrated systems of care come together?

They’re all included in the book chapters!

Kevin: What question have I not asked Mark?

You should ask “can we do it?”. We’re currently hurtling towards a global workforce crisis in healthcare so we need to act now, think differently and use a much wider range of assets – technology, patients, communities as well as supporting our healthcare professionals in a much more caring and constructive fashion.

(1) The launch events dates. If anyone is interested in attending either event, please reach out directly to Bethany Kunsa ( National Sector Manager Health, Ageing & Human ServicesIf you need additional information, don’t hesitate.


April 10th 7:30am-9:30am 

KPMG Offices, Level 36, Tower 2 

727 Collins Street, Melbourne

April 11th 12:00pm-2:00pm 

KPMG Offices, Level 38, Tower 3 

300 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney