Air Traffic Control and Healthcare?

I recently read a MedCityNews post that used an air traffic control metaphor to describe what the future of healthcare could look like. The article compares the future of hospital operations with how air traffic control’s efficient and streamlined scheduling and operations transformed air travel.

The idea of pulling together activities that if treated individually and uncoordinated could be dangerous and/or cause service disruption resonates. We look at healthcare logistics in a similar manner. How can we take activities that used to be handled individually and develop new processes and infrastructure to turn those individual components into something better?

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Systemness: Integrating to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high quality care

Systemness is a term that is being used more and more frequently in healthcare. The word itself is a bit clumsy, but its meaning very much affects our industry.

A recent post from the Advisory Board Company describes it this way, “at its essence, systemness is about integrating all aspects of a health system’s governance, operations, and workflows—across all technologies, clinicians, and locations—to deliver seamless, cost-effective, high-quality care.”

The Advisory Board recently conducted a survey of over 150 health system executives, and the conclusion was that those leaders said, “in no uncertain terms that their organizational success depends on greater integration, and greater integration depends on their ability to do concrete things that reduce variation, improve coordination, and improve the flow of information.”

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Why Questioning the Status Quo Builds Better Leaders to “Think Different”

There’s a post that I read a while back on Inc. that keeps coming back to me. “Why Great Leaders Question the Status Quo: Being a thoughtful, creative leader means moving beyond the confines of tradition,” was written by Micah Solomon.

We all know of great thinkers and business leaders who question the status quo, and Solomon cites the late Steve Jobs of Apple as a prime example. The indelibly memorable “Think Different” advertising campaign that helped bring Apple back from the brink in 1997 completely highlighted the fact that Apple products and its leader were different from the rest of the world.

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What’s Keeping Healthcare CEOs up at Night?

We know that today’s CEOs face unprecedented challenges. New regulations and declining payments are two of the biggest hurdles, but what else keeps healthcare leaders up at night? I recently read a survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions that I found very interesting.

The survey asked that very question of CEOs at large hospitals and health systems (greater than $1 billion in revenue). Unsurprisingly, the CEOs anticipate that value-based care (VBC) will reshape the future of healthcare. As hospitals are paid differently, profitability will be harder to achieve.

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Frugal Innovation: Healthcare’s Answer to Transformation?

Often, innovation and technology are thought of as the same thing. But, aren’t there ways to innovate that aren’t tied to huge investments in the latest and greatest technology? Innovation isn’t only about “stuff,” it’s also about looking at new or different approaches that can move the needle on productivity and other outcomes.

Along these lines, a recent Becker’s Health IT article caught my attention. The subject was “frugal innovation,” the idea of doing more with less. The healthcare industry is particularly primed to take a serious look at frugal innovation.

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“Farm to Table”: An Innovative Way to Improve Population Health

By Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Vice President, Marketing

 

As a marketer, I’m always curious about new and interesting ways organizations—particularly healthcare organizations—market themselves. A recent article in Modern Healthcare about health systems using their food service as part of population health was really instructive.

Historically, when we think of hospital food, we put it on the same caliber as our elementary school cafeteria: edible, but not great.

However, some healthcare organizations around the country have stepped up their food service significantly, with the goal of attracting people who don’t “have to” eat there.

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The Lessons We Can Learn from RadioShack

I’ve written before about lessons the healthcare industry can learn from the general business community. The story of the eventual collapse of 94-year old RadioShack, as posted by Becker’s Hospital Review, is another great lesson we can learn – and a cautionary tale for us all. As Tamara Rosin wrote:

RadioShack, like all businesses, is not immune to the impacts of changing technology and evolving consumer forces. Adaptability, business savvy, connectivity with consumers and strong leadership are critical for sustaining in a fast-paced market.

Ms. Rosin then goes on to list some key lessons to prevent your hospital from going the way of RadioShack.

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Can Imitation Be More Beneficial than Innovation? The Answer May Surprise You

Innovation is the engine of change. And, as a recent Harvard Business Review post noted, “Health care is infatuated with innovation.” After all, innovation is how we’ve evolved as a society.

But what about imitation? Can our industry benefit from that?

The HBR post, titled “Health Care Needs Less Innovation and More Imitation” goes on to note that some health systems are emulating an approach adapted by Cisco Systems. Cisco doesn’t just invest in its own research; the company also teams up with partners that have promising products.

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What Healthcare Executives Can Learn from P&G

Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer-products company that aggressively expanded for years, recently announced that it will sell more than half of its brands.

Are you asking what this has to do with healthcare? Well, a lot actually.

Just like many of today’s health systems, P&G is in a very competitive and changing market. While it was successful under its former strategy for many, many years, leadership realized that the best way to continue to lead the market was to become more nimble. As Lindsey Dunn quoted in a recent Becker’s Hospital Review blog post, the idea is to “create a faster growing, more profitable company that’s far simpler to operate.”

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Thoughts from the recent IDN Summit in Phoenix

I just returned from the Fall 2011 IDN Summit in Phoenix and I came away feeling pleasantly (hopefully not delusionally!) optimistic about where healthcare is headed.  Why?  I think that the industry is showing one of the most positive signs of human nature, that at a certain point people simply reject negativism.  In fact, studies have shown that one of the causes of the business cycle – in this case the upswing portion – comes from people’s collective unwillingness to indefinitely dwell in the doldrums.  The result — a challenge, once feared, becomes something to overcome. It sure felt that way in Phoenix!

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