Market Forces Affecting Healthcare

The American Hospital Association’s event “Building Coordinated Networks of Care in the Digital Age” held on March 20, 2019 at the National Press Club, highlighted how contemporary market forces are changing health care. Today’s healthcare environment requires understanding current trends to thoroughly understand what is happening in today’s health and medical environment.

According to Rick Pollack, President and CEO, American Hospital Association, changes are taking place affecting changing healthcare and delivery system. Consumers want affordable convenient, personalized, and high quality care that will provide more value. Value-based care models focused on populations will improve the quality of care at a lower cost. Innovations and the availability of new technologies and the ability to use artificial intelligence is also going to reduce costs.”

A panel discussion moderated by, Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System talked about the forces changing healthcare delivery. First, patients are becoming consumers with the newest technologies driving innovation. He mentioned how much Google is changing the way the healthcare system operates and how many innovations are occurring at a rapid rate in the digital world due to Big Data.

Dr. Michael Howell, Chief Clinical Strategist Healthcare, Google carried the conversation further by explaining why and how Google wants to help patient/consumers and physicians achieve the best results in assisting in the healthcare space.

Today, Google’s performance teams meet with health system leaders and are playing an aggressive role to provide the right up-to-date information to the public and to the health system. Google’s goal is to provide essential health information to meet the needs of society and the medical and health community in the present ongoing transformation occurring in the healthcare industry.

Sam Glick, Partner, Oliver Wyman pointed out that healthcare costs have gone up and how costs are shifting more and more to the individual which has resulted in more people shopping around for care and if the cost is too much, many may decide not to be treated.

He also discussed how the big players make healthcare nationally competitive, but the fact is that the use of the latest technologies such as telemedicine makes it possible for people to decide not to go to a facility but to go online for medical care. Individuals with mental health issues like to use technology online for privacy reasons and convenience.

The second panel tackled the issue of how to deliver healthcare in the future. Ken Kaufman, Managing Director, Kaufman Hall as moderator said, “It is important to allocate resources for future healthcare requirements since uncertain changes may be coming.”

He said, “Hospitals and health systems working to create coordinated systems of care by redesigning how care is delivered to patients. Today’s communities find it essential to provide more convenient, cost-effective, and innovative services.”

Also, “One factor affecting the role of healthcare in terms of adjusting to the competitive environment, concerns the role of retail and urgent care centers and their ability to reduce outpatient business at hospital organizations. These new care centers are going to continue to play a new role in the community as hospitals are facing difficult financial realities combined with significant competition.”

Elliot Joseph, CEO, Hartford Healthcare located in Connecticut sees coordinated care as a vital need, especially if the largest provider for care may be care that is provided in the home.

Wright Lassiter III, President and CEO Henry Ford Health System mentioned how the health system is partnering with General Motors on issues related to connected care. To move connected care forward, people have to work together and partner to share incentives and costs.

It was pointed out by Janice Nevin MD, President, CEO, Christiana Care Health System how important it is in today’s world to develop new care models as in the case of elder care. It is also important to invest in data and technology to help care teams analyze those at risk, discuss serious workforce issues, how to effectively engage with communities, and how to meet today’s changes in the delivery system. Also, it is necessary to recruit and enable physicians to bring them into the community as vital partners so they don’t experience clinician burnout.

Wrapping up the briefing, the panelists were in agreement that the country needs age friendly care, partnerships to support health systems, needs to address a number of issues related to the changing workforce, and very importantly deal with automation as systems are advancing at a rapid rate in the medical and health fields.

Also, other healthcare sector future issues will include future physician and nursing shortages, how to deal effectively with cultural complexities in the population, find effective ways to deal with the opioid crisis, and how to modernize regulations and Stark laws that are obsolete. The panelists were all in agreement that challenging times in today’s medical and healthcare field will require all of us in the field to buckle up and hold on for the future.

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