Framework for the Future of Hospitals and Health Systems
Five Steps to Master for a Health System to Thrive
Here at Imagine What If, we survey healthcare and its environment all the time, talking to, brain-picking and consulting with major employers, healthcare vendors, hospital systems, entrepreneurs, creative start-ups, doctors, and big health plans. We survey trends in hospital and health system management, the underlying healthcare economics, and the impact of healthcare reform. In this survey we have picked up a compelling pattern, rooted deeper and carrying farther than healthcare reform, one that grows increasingly robust with passing months. The pattern is so consistent and exciting that we have created this special 74-page guide to the steps we feel strongly are necessary for you to thrive in this sector, called Framework: A Strategic Survival Kit for Hospitals and Health Systems.
Here’s what we are seeing: There are new programs, business models, experiments popping up in hospitals and health systems that lead us to believe that the tide is turning. The results are not just a drop in inflation, a “bending of the cost curve,” but a substantial drop in the cost of services and, simultaneously, an increase in quality and access. These innovations are still in the minority — most systems haven’t caught on yet — but there are so many of these programs, and among so many partners, that there appears to be a shift in the culture and in the economics of healthcare.
The path out of our dilemma is not simple or fast. It is complex and difficult and will take years to build, yet it is absolutely workable. We can see that is already being done.
There are five parts to the health systems strategic toolkit necessary to get on this path. You need all five, and you need only these five. They are both necessary and sufficient to the task. They are interdependent: Each of these five strategic tools needs the support of the other four.
How to Make a Living with Value in Healthcare
Let’s step back for a second: The core problem in healthcare is pretty neatly expressed by the fact that while I can say to the customer, “If you did these five things, you would be in better health,” I cannot say to them, “If you did these five things, you would get better healthcare for less.” In most of healthcare, the customers can’t find value, don’t know how to, and don’t get rewarded in any way if they do find it. There are no real “products” to compare, no real prices that relate to how good the product is and no real useful measurement. To a great extent, this applies just as well to the customer’s representatives in shopping for value (the employers, the health plans and the government).
These five strategic steps (and the similar toolkits I am laying out for health plans, physicians and medical groups, and employers) are all about how we in healthcare create real value (cost per benefit), prove the value through real measurement, present it to the customer in packages from which they can pick and choose, take our lumps in the marketplace, and constantly improve through competition.
People say, “But what about those darn (patients, health plans, employers, pick your villain)?”
What about them? Healthcare is a complex adaptive system with all players at static local optima in a Nash equilibrium. Translated from the jargon, that means:
- All players feel helpless to change anything about their situation without being punished and feel it’s everyone else’s fault, and
- Any player who changes, changes the incentives and forces acting on every other player.
And that’s the point: If you, the providers, shift your strategies, you change the rules of the game and suddenly everyone is looking for a new way to get this thing done.
Now’s the time for you to force the action. Take that step.
Fill out this form, and we will direct you to your free copy of the 74-page e-book, Framework: A Strategic Survival Kit for Hospitals and Health Systems: