As an industry, if we take a high-level view of healthcare, one of the principal healthcare missions is to help individuals live life to its fullest potential. Healthcare supports patients across the continuum from preventive medicine through chronic disease. Everyone—suppliers, providers, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and health systems—plays a role in affordably enabling patients to live to their fullest potential.
As a healthcare supplier, our challenge is the balance between cost and innovation. We want to create tools that help providers ensure that their patients can return back to the quality of life that they are accustomed to. But in order to accommodate that, we need to be thinking about care delivery, innovation, patient access, and cost. Suppliers and providers alike have various costs including, but not limited to, employee cost, regulatory cost, marketing costs, and delivery costs. Similar to my June blog, does high technology always mean better care?, using medical devices we have in the most appropriate ways will allow us to deliver fiscally responsible care to patients.
This is a globally complex challenge—how can we ensure that we’re delivering the best-quality care to patients in a fiscally responsible way? Ultimately, this is a complex challenge for patients because they’re the ones who have to financially navigate their healthcare. This also becomes an industry challenge because patients have varying levels of healthcare coverage, such as employer-provided health insurance, private health insurance, or no health insurance at all.
The reality is that businesses have to be profitable to sustain themselves. Recently, I was reading an article about the demise of taxi cabs in Chicago. As I was reading, I thought that, in a very basic way, Uber and Lyft are innovating. They are providing a similar service to traditional taxi’s in a convenient way to customers who are demanding it. This is part of the healthcare challenge. In healthcare, we talk about taking conventional healthcare and making it more convenient for patients through innovations such as telehealth, smart phones, or other enabling technology.
As healthcare funding shifts from fee-for-service to value-based payment, innovation and creativity play a role. As patients become more interested in the exact dollar amount spent on their own healthcare, health systems are thinking about their care delivery models in new and creative ways.
The small and simple element of prevention is seeping more and more into the fabric of healthcare. More often, healthcare providers are thinking about how they can help patients in terms of diet, exercise, and lifestyle change in order to prevent negative health occurrences. By preventing negative health occurrences, patients are saving money and, in turn, so are health systems. This is one step in the right direction.
We want more people to be able to access healthcare at a lower cost. This can be extremely difficult to execute. Collecting and analyzing data, as shown in my How can you adopt data standards and do business at the same time? blog, could help us more effectively treat each unique patient in a cost-effective way.
At the end of the day, there are many people who depend on our industry to take care of them, and there isn’t one right answer to delivering high-quality, fiscally responsible healthcare. The healthcare industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We can look to other industries for advice, solutions, and guidance as we work to solve this challenge together.
David Reed is currently Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Healthcare Business Solutions for Cook Medical Incorporated. With over 30 years of life science industry expertise Dave holds an MBA from California Miramar University and serves as a member of the Indiana University Kelly School of Business Supply Chain and Global Management Academy Advisory Board.