Innovations come in many forms—from the promise of liquid biopsies, which could forever change cancer detection, to Health Level Seven International’s recent release of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, an improved standard for exchanging healthcare information electronically. Smart ideas implemented in the right way can change markets.
Such ideas are big business as companies look to disrupt healthcare delivery in positive, cost-effective ways. HFMA’s newest report, Health Care 2020: Transformative Innovation (released in late December 2016), cites record-breaking estimates of $16.1 billion in venture capital funding for U.S. healthcare companies in 2015.
With the healthcare industry in a state of disruptive change, leaders recognize the importance of this investment in innovation to improve patient care, lower costs, enhance communication, improve access to data, and streamline financial reporting—among other crucial goals.
Robert M. Wachter, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says in the HFMA report:
“The healthcare system is being driven more strongly than ever to deliver better, safer, more satisfying care at a lower cost. That, coupled with new electronic tools, payment arrangements, and capabilities, will drive levels of innovation beyond what we have seen before.”
One of the report’s key points is that value-based models will work to incentivize adoption of technology that can bend the cost curve. Meanwhile, new technologies based in a fee-for-service model would likely do the opposite—increase costs. The report also cautions, “Healthcare organizations that cannot embrace technology to enhance their clinical and business practices will be at a competitive disadvantage.”
The HFMA report showcases examples of healthcare innovation and ways that leaders are engaging employees to foster creative and novel approaches to care.
As an example, the health benefits company Anthem, based in Indianapolis, launched a 6,500-square-foot Innovation Studio in Atlanta and has created an employee engagement platform to submit ideas and solve problems posed by leaders. One caveat: Ideas that move to implementation all must demonstrate value, rather than simply increase spending.
But if you look at technology in contexts such as better understanding population health, engaging consumers in treatments and education, and reducing the prevalence of preventable and chronic conditions, technology turns from a game changer to a life changer. And that is probably the best disruption any professional could hope to achieve.
As the market’s preparations for 2017 unfold, you will hear a great deal about the challenges facing health care this year and beyond. Although change always reminds us of the uncertainty that faces an industry, it also signals incredible opportunity for renewal, innovation, efficiencies, and delivery. Health care continues to move into a new era of technological and economic change. I can only believe that some of the macro forces influencing this industry will improve the health of the communities and regions it serves and the longevity of the healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to help patients in need.
Read the 2020 Reports
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