There is an expectation in our culture right now that healthcare providers can be better, cheaper, faster, safer, more empathetic, more equitable and more efficient.
Tall order. What will it take to make such a fundamental set of shifts from the status quo? Or, to paraphrase an expression used by U.S. President Barack Obama, what will it take for healthcare innovators to win the future?
Health technology leaders gathered in Chicago this week for a summit facilitated by Becker’s Review. Billed as a “CIO/HIT Summit”, the event played out as a series of conversations in which peers shared their experiences, vented their frustrations, and talked about the kinds of strategies, tools and partnerships that will help healthcare providers get better.
Senior executives from world-leading institutions like the Stanford and University of Chicago medical centers participated, and leaders with highly-regarded regional medical centers like the University of Mississippi, Christus Health, Children’s Hospital of Colorado, and the Heart Hospital Baylor Plano in Texas made up the majority of those on more than 25 expert panels. Allscripts, Inc. CEO Paul Black brought a critical perspective on a panel as well and there were numerous players with insights about mobile technology including Everseat co-founders Dr. Brian Kaplan and CEO Jeff Peres.
When professional conferences are at their best, there is a real exchange of ideas in addition to exchange of business cards, and a sense of common rather than competing interests emerges. That spirit of co-creation is the basis of beginning to feel like real change is possible, and like true innovation might actually occur. The following are three themes that came through loud and clear in Chicago at the Summit:
(1) The time may really be arriving to put patients first.
Cynics may not believe it but leaders in the provider community understand perhaps better than ever that they need to put patients first. As our own co-founder Dr. Brian Kaplan puts it, “The entire healthcare industry has been focused on how the players communicate with each other. A 180 degree shift is underway in which the focus will be on how we connect with our patients.”
(2) Mobile technology is about to explode and will touch everything.
Remember when a website was just a website? The CIO of a large health system observed that 2016 will be for mobile what 1996 was for the internet itself. The mobile revolution will not just take place inside the hospital. It may happen even more rapidly in the relationship between provider and patient, simply because patients will demand it.
(3) Leadership means partnership.
The rapid pace of change means no organization can manage its way forward without strategic, durable partnerships. There is a robust community of innovative organizations that see technology as a way to make people healthier. You can afford to specialize if you have partners whose specialties complement your own.
Yale New Haven Medical Center’s Chief Information Officer Daniel Barchi made everyone laugh with the photo of a freshly painted double yellow line that runs right over the carcass of fresh road-kill, probably a hedgehog. Barchi warned against the kind of narrow thinking that can hold back progress and make us do some pretty stupid things. Barchi was talking of course about the line painting crew, but none of us wants to be the hedgehog either.