Healthcare institutions are delving into the potentials of data, analytics, and AI to foster and magnify innovation and transformation. We had a sit-down with a panel of healthcare experts to gain insights on the trajectory of the industry. Here’s a highlight of the leadership lessons they shared and the bold steps they’re taking.
Embracing the Technological Shift
“Among the driving forces for healthcare’s structural evolution, technological change stands tall, flanked by evolving payment models and the push towards equity,” notes Bruce Broussard, Humana’s CEO.
He believes that technology will open up more choices for consumers.
Tina Freese Decker from Corewell Health underscores the immense potential of AI and the need for its intelligent, safe, and secure implementation. The integration of AI in everyday processes, like appointment scheduling, can simplify experiences for consumers.
David Holmberg of Highmark Health suggests that the influence of AI in healthcare will overshadow the transformations we saw during the rise of the internet. The investment and impact will be colossal. Meanwhile, Martha Wofford of Blue Cross and Blue Shield sees AI as a key to unlock tremendous savings.
Sonny Goyal from Blue Shield and Blue Cross emphasizes that AI’s role is to enhance staff performance rather than replace them. The power of data and analytics, especially with advancements like ChatGPT, offers a chance to personalize care and truly understand the patients.
Scaling Beyond Pilot Projects
“For value creation, achieving scale is paramount. It allows for the diffusion of fixed costs, expertise exchange, and expanded tech testing opportunities,” says Tom Jackiewicz of the University of Chicago Health System.
M&A strategies, while beneficial, aren’t the only pathway to scale. Partnerships, in varied forms, can also help achieve strategic objectives, as highlighted by Bill Rutherford of HCA Healthcare.
Highmark’s Holmberg urges a cautious approach to growth, ensuring alignment with strategic objectives. This sentiment is echoed by Brian Kane of Aetna, who stresses the importance of investing time and resources wisely.
Boosting Productivity for Transformative Care
With challenges like post-COVID-19 utilization spikes and labor shortages, healthcare leaders are focusing on enhancing productivity. The cornerstone is making the lives of clinicians easier, which involves streamlining operations and integrating technology.
Sutter’s Warner Thomas sees simplifying processes and reducing system engagement time for physicians and nurses as pivotal. Dr. Philip Ozuah of Montefiore emphasizes understanding the ‘why’ behind initiatives, fixing dysfunctional processes, and leveraging technology for improved outcomes.
Humana’s Broussard predicts a shift in care dynamics, with a stronger emphasis on generalists and convenient care settings, including home-based care. Ben Breier of Partners Group underscores the need for more efficient, cost-effective care delivery, with technology and data analytics playing a crucial role.
In a nutshell, as the healthcare sector stands on the brink of massive transformation, the amalgamation of technology, strategic scaling, and a focus on productivity will be instrumental in shaping its future.
Breaking Down Barriers: The Power of Integration
A major challenge facing healthcare leaders is creating a more cohesive system for their patients. Though no one claims perfection, the consensus is clear: integration is essential. Humana’s Broussard highlighted:
“How do we integrate across business lines so that the customer isn’t the integrator; the system is the integrator. Integration is ultimately what a scalable organization should strive for… leading to higher patient satisfaction, better outcomes, and ultimately higher profits.”
Highmark’s Holmberg believes in the strength of unity and collaboration.
“An integrated system offers the chance to take advantage of opportunities. Finding like-minded partners… will be critical. But it’s going to take a public-private partnership to solve the big issues.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s Wofford stressed the need for transformation:
“We need to transform how people experience care. We can’t just stay in our traditional payer lane… We are ready to invest with providers, in capabilities that will help them excel.”
Emphasizing the role of information, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Goyal stated:
“I look forward to more data sharing in a safe way… that helps improve upon the experiences and care of our members.”
Pivoting with Purpose: Agility in a Rapidly Changing Landscape
Adapting to the evolving healthcare scene necessitates innovation and flexibility. Some participants shed light on the challenges and opportunities within this.
Aetna’s Kane brought up the internal struggles of large corporations:
“It is really hard to build innovative startups within a large company… Being able to use your balance sheet to effectively create that and still benefit from it can be really powerful.”
Holmberg brought attention to the self-imposed barriers:
“The biggest challenge to innovation is us. Five years from now, we will be a much more nimble organization.”
HCA’s Rutherford discussed nurturing budding ideas:
“We invest in companies that have a great idea or product… it is cool to see those grow.”
Sonny Goyal from Blue Shield and Blue Cross of North Carolina provided a forward-looking perspective:
“Three forces are influencing the future of care… provider consolidation, technologies like AI, and inflation. We have tried to develop an agile mindset… constantly reevaluating our structure, looking for ways to streamline decision-making, to handle these forces faster.”