Is anyone else in disbelief that it’s already the end of 2015? It feels like life, work, and the world in general are moving faster than ever. It’s important to take time to pause as the year comes to a close, reflect on what you’ve learned and accomplished, and prepare for what’s ahead.
Healthcare is moving just as fast as everything else. Looking back over the year’s posts, I see some red threads that connect all the healthcare issues that we’ve discussed. We’ve talked about outward migration and the movement of patients from hospitals to outpatient centers. Health systems and suppliers need to work together to make sure that high-quality care is available to patients in more places. Similarly, we’ve discussed the changing patient experience. As the healthcare model in the U.S. evolves, patients will become more invested, financially and otherwise, in their care. This will require the healthcare industry to prioritize the value of healthcare, as defined by patients, rather than the volume.
An underlying factor that impacts all of the big healthcare initiatives is data standards. I’ve seen it over and over again: organizations that have fully embraced data standards have better information to help them achieve efficiency, cut costs, and reduce clinical variation. Perhaps I’m biased from working with data standards for years now, so what do you think? Are data standards a way to close the gaps? If so, how can we help each other achieve that?
These kinds of industry-wide changes are connected. They all require better communication, more transparency, and recognition of the shared goals of physicians, hospital administrators, suppliers, and insurers.
Let’s face it: every single healthcare system in the world is facing the same three absolutes:
- Treating more patients. More people are getting access to healthcare, and in general, people are living longer. There’s certainly no shortage of patients.
- Reducing costs. Everyone knows that healthcare spending is increasing exponentially. There is pressure from all sides to try to curb this trend and get costs under control.
- Improving the quality of care. No one is interested in sacrificing the quality of care that patients receive in order to save money. In fact, the expectation is that quality of care will steadily improve.
To me, these three things are the drivers behind every single healthcare issue that we face. I plan to delve into these topics in detail in 2016, but I want to hear what you are interested in discussing. Which is the most important of these three drivers? How do we work together to accomplish all three?
Have a happy and restful holiday season. We’ll need all of your energy to tackle the challenges ahead in 2016.
Check out the past posts from my desk here.
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.