It’s critical to see the future of medicine as an opportunity, not a threat. There is always opportunity in change.
Huge bets of global capital are being made by those who believe they can get ahead of those changes and gain market share as the changes unfold. This same approach is available to any stakeholder who dares to think this way: don’t just stem the tide as the industry gets disrupted—take advantage.
In other words, to get ahead of the market, you don’t have to invent the future of medicine (though this can happen anywhere). You just have to adopt it earlier.
DOUBLE DOWN ON STRENGTHS
Wherever you already are an innovator and market leader, double down. Specialization leads to excellence. The reward for innovation is extremely high: you can leverage your strength, not just gaining market share locally, but potentially licensing your process or your technology around the country or the world.
DIVEST WEAKER OFFERINGS
Where you are not strong, divest and replace with partnerships. Create clarity around your brand. If you aren’t known for doing something really well, you’re likely to be disrupted there anyway by others who nail it. No single healthcare organization can be best in class at everything. Get ahead of this change.
EVALUATE NEW TECH AGGRESSIVELY
Invest in your tech-scouting personnel. Evaluate new technologies relentlessly. Be discriminating in where you need the most precise (and expensive) equipment, and if it’s not your area of strength, consider using new ultra-low-cost devices instead to improve margins.
Establish a strategic task force in your community among healthcare stake-holders.
LEAD WITH RESEARCH
Medical schools should be the leading face of change in their local communities. Even competing industry stakeholders can find commonality in guiding their local medical school to best prepare physicians for the future. Build up the best local medical center into a clinical trial site and research organization—and then have the medical school be a resource and partner to seed new initiatives.
BROADEN THE CURRICULUM
Medical schools should compress the traditional curriculum to allow time for students to study policy, health science, economics and technology.
If you don’t have a med-tech incubator, start one. If there’s already one in town, start another. Fill them not just with medical students, but also with computing and mechanical engineers, designers and business students. Give them access to your internal processes to get familiar with your pain points. Whenever they see a problem, they just might invent a solution.
MAKE VIRTUAL MEDICINE REALITY
The #1 most common location where healthcare will be delivered is the patient’s home. Adopt virtual care as rapidly as possible. It lowers costs and vastly increases access. Patient populations will migrate to virtual care if everyone is doing it—so cooperate across your market.
ACCELERATE THE QUEUE
Where you can’t adopt virtual care, make wait time your KPI. Long wait times erode patients’ confidence and rob them of their autonomy. In turn, this leads them to look elsewhere for answers—be that the internet, alternative medicine or another physician. Shorter waits will rebuild trust and bolster the bottom lines of organizations that value patients’ time.
The easiest path to getting familiar with artificial intelligence is to use it to more efficiently run your hospital, on non- clinical data.
Be proactive about establishing ASCs. Though the reimbursement advantage of performing low-acuity surgeries in hospitals is attractive, value-based care models (which are here to stay) will likely increasingly favor ASCs. Patient and provider satisfaction will also be enhanced.
MAKE DOCTORS HAPPY
The time for institutions to establish a reputation as “physician friendly” is now. The crisis in physician morale is starting to draw the attention it warrants, and organizations that become known for taking care of their doctors will have an advantage in recruitment for years to come.
Every major surgery center should have a hotel on site, typically through a hotel partner. Patients benefit from recovery in specialized hotel rooms with family around.
ACTIVATE THE CONCIERGE
Establish clearly branded concierge services around chronic diseases, and market to the previvor population—those destined for specific disorders who haven’t yet experienced symptoms. Concierge services help these patient pools navigate the healthcare system, insurance companies and financial services.