If we take a look at the history of hospitals, we see ongoing transformations reflective of the times.
Hospitals were conceived as civilized and organized institutions for birthing and dying, for rehabilitation of the sick, for clinical teaching and research, and as institutions for science and technology, as Guenter B. Risse describes in his book, "Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals."
In today’s changing landscape, reimbursement systems, higher deductibles, population health, new competition and consumerism are all bringing down admissions. Therefore, healthcare leaders are looking for new ways to transform the delivery system and meet the needs of a changing environment.
Changes in population demographics also play a role and have an impact on our healthcare system. As the baby boomers enter retirement age and live longer, it will place a huge burden on the delivery system. Millennials are more diverse, tech-savvy and focused on real-time information about their health. They will be more involved in their health and want to engage more than previous generations. They will want choices.
So how do healthcare executives make sense of these changes and where to focus their efforts to meet the needs? Change brings opportunity and those executives willing to embrace this change will have the opportunity to thrive and lead the way. Some of the areas of focus include the following:
- Forming and growing integrated delivery networks
- Ambulatory center growth and less focus on bricks and mortar
- Innovation centers that engage the workforce to advance care delivery and find new revenues
- Accountable care organizations and wellness programs that promote prevention
- New technologies and technological advances (telemedicine, personalized health, virtual reality, big data, genetics, and patient engagement apps and censors)
- Cost reduction initiatives (mergers, joint ventures, outsourcing and providing care in different settings).
Healthcare will continue to evolve, and new advances in science and technology will most certainly have the greatest impact on how care is delivered in the future. The change that is coming is not incremental or even linear. It’s exponential, and those systems and leaders willing to invest in innovation will lead the way to a better and more advanced delivery system. The future is bright, and we at The Innovation Institute are excited about the changes on the horizon and what they will bring.
Joe Randolph is president and CEO of The Innovation Institute, a for-profit LLC and an incubator focused on healthcare transformation and new product development and commercialization. The Innovation Institute currently works with hospitals and health systems across the country.