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The Next 90 in HealthCare
October 7th, 2014

The Ontario Hospital Association — based in Canada — is celebrating it’s 90th year. As part of that, it arranged for a number of experts to comment on the future of healthcare, and is running this in a site that “looks at the next 90 years.

Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time. We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.

Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time. We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.

They asked me to contribute a piece.

I’m still doing a *tremendous* number of talks in the health care sector; it is one of the most high velocity industries around. For more insight, check out the ‘health care trends‘ section of my web site.


The Next 90
by Jim Carroll

Everyone in a leadership position in the health care system worldwide knows that the challenges facing the system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about.

Everyone in a leadership position in the health care system worldwide knows that the challenges facing the system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about.

Yet many in the system are stuck in sort of a Groundhog Day-like existence — they get up every morning, and everyone around them keeps talking about the same old thing as the day before — in the US, healthcare reform. In Canada, the discussion is all about “hospital wait times.” In other countries, the issue of the future of healthcare often swirls around a single issue.

The result is that real healthcare innovation is stifled, smothered, and never given a chance to flourish. Yet there is so much other opportunity if we link ourselves to the major trends that are going to unfold in the future at a furious, blinding velocity!

We need big thinking, because the health care cliff in the Western world is massive. In many countries, we’ve got a ratio of workers to retirees of 4 to 1. By 2030, that will decline to 2 to 1. Most of those workers support the health care expenditures of those who place the greatest demands on the health care system. In Canada it’s suggested that as a result, by 2030, Old Age Security and health care is likely to suffer a $71.2 billion shortfall that will require a GST of 19% and a top tax rate of 71%. In the US, the numbers are even more mind-boggling.

The fact is, we need big, bold thinking, Grand ideas. Dramatic change. Champions with courage to challenge the status quo. The need is desperate.

There is a realization that there is an urgent need to challenge the very philosophies upon which the system is built. That’s why, when we look back from the future, everyone will know that it was the major scientific, technological, consumer and social trends that allowed for some very dramatic change in the concept of health care delivery. Preventative concepts are part of this big transition. I suspect by 2020 or 2025, we will have had successfully transitioned the health care system from one which “fixed people after they were sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic medicine. Treating them for the conditions we know they were likely to develop.

I often wonder if the discussion about health care in many parts of the Western world has come off the rails – with the result that many opportunities for real innovation are not being pursued.

That’s the focus of quite a number of keynotes I’ll be giving in the next few weeks, including for the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations annual conference in Jacksonville, the 2012 National Pharmacy Forum in Tampa for the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, and a private leadership event for the Mercy healthcare group based in St. Louis.

One of my key messages is that it’s time for bold thinking, big actions, and new ideas in the world of healthcare — and that can only be accomplished if people change the conversation.

What’s the problem? I think that many in the system are stuck in sort of a groundhog day like existence — they get up every morning, and everyone around them keeps talking about the same old thing as the day before — in the US, healthcare reform. In Canada, the discussion is all about wait times. In other countries, the issue of the future of healthcare often swirls around a single issue.

The result is that real healthcare innovation is stifled, smothered, and never given a chance to flourish. Yet there is so much other opportunity if we link ourselves to the major trends that are going to unfold in the future at a furious, blinding velocity.

We need big thinking, because the health care cliff in the Western world is massive. In many countries,  we’ve got a ratio of workers  to retirees of 4 to 1. By 2030, that will decline to 2 to 1. Most of those workers support the health care expenditures of those who place the greatest demands on the health care system. In Canada it’s suggested that as a result, by 2030,  Old Age Security and health care is likely to suffer a $71.2 billion shortfall that will require a GST of 19% and a top tax rate of 71%. In the US, the numbers are even more mind-boggling.

The fact is, we need big, bold thinking, Grand ideas. Dramatic change. Champions with courage to challenge the status quo. The need is desperate.

That’s what I take a look at in my keynotes, by looking at where we will be in the world of health care by 2020. The changes are massive — which implies the opportunities for real innovation are unprecedented. Consider the trends:

  • Preventative: By 2020, if we do the right things, we will have successfully transitioned the system from one which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic genomic-based medicine. Treating patients for the conditions we know they are likely to develop, and re-architecting the system around that reality.
  • Virtual & Community:  A system which will provide for virtual care through bio-connectivity, and extension of the hospital into a community-care oriented structure. Wireless and mobility health apps that link consumer wellness monitoring to medical professionals.
  • Consumer driven: A consumer driven, retail oriented health care environment for non-critical care treatment that provides significant opportunities for cost reduction.
  • Real time:  Real time analytics and location-intelligence capabilities which provide for community-wide monitoring of emerging health care challenges. “Just-in-time” knowledge concepts which will help to deal with a profession in which the volume of knowledge doubles every six years.

That and much, much more. The fact is, we are going to witness more change in the world of health care in the next ten years than we have seen in the last 200.

That’s the message that has resonated with the global audiences that have been bringing me in to challenge them to think about the real opportunities for innovation in the world of health care. And through that, I’m discovering experts, politicians and people within the health care system who really are thinking big enough about the potential opportunities for real innovation within the system.

Think big. Do great things. Accomplish massive change. The need is dire, the urgency is fast.

 

It’s an interesting time in the US. The healthcare reform debate continues; the future is uncertain. Health care groups everywhere and those impacted by the bill are spending a huge amount of time thinking about the implications of the bill, and the role of innovation.

Real innovation in the healthcare sector will come from riding the future trends that will allow for the reinvention and re-architecture of the the entire system. Click to read more!

In my own case, I’ve been doing and am scheduled to do quite a few keynotes for health care or related institutions (insurance, tax, financial, pharmaceutical, and others..) that focus on future trends in health care. And I’m finding that people are bringing me in as the ‘thought leader’ to really open the minds of people beyond the policy and political discussions which are underway in these leadership meetings.

For example, for an upcoming conference in Arizona, there will be two days looking at health reform issues. There will be:

  • a policy wonk, looking at the politics of health care in Washington
  • an economist, who will take a look at the global and US economies, and the impact on health care dollars
  • a health system specialist, who will talk about how to implement the requirements of the health care bill
  • and me — the future — to provide a closing keynote on the REAL trends that will impact healthcare into the future!

There are a lot of policy and political issues on the table today, and organizations need to address them. But I’m also finding that quite a few CEO’s and senior executives are working hard to move their team beyond just those issues, and are looking for the real opportunities for innovation within the system. That’s where I come in!

As I note in my healthcare keynote description:

When Jim Carroll began a recent keynote talk for the Minnesota Hospital Association CEO Summit, he announced that he wouldn’t even mention health care reform — and the audience of 300 senior executives cheered! Instead, he told the audience that he would take them on a voyage to the world of healthcare in the year of 2020, and provide them the insight they really need to deal with the challenges and opportunity of the future.”

What are some of these trends, that go well beyond reform? I cover them in my talk:

Where will we by the year 2020? We will have successfully transitioned the system from one which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic genomic-based medicine. Treating patients for the conditions we know they are likely to develop, and re-architechting the system around that reality. A system which will provide for virtual care through bio-connectivity, and extension of the hospital into a community-care oriented structure. A consumer driven, retail oriented health care environment for non-critical care treatment that provides significant opportunities for cost reduction. Real time analytics and location-intelligence capabilities which provide for community-wide monitoring of emerging health care challenges. “Just-in-time” knowledge concepts which will help to deal with a profession in which the volume of knowledge doubles every six years. That and much, much more.”

Health care reform is a big issue, and likely one of the biggest in the US economy today. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you think that innovation in the health care sector is limited to the impact of the bill. There are so many trends providing so much opportunity for innovation, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t understand them.

Think BIGGER – read my “It’s January 15, 2020: What Have We Learned About Healthcare in the Last Decade” document!

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