We have crossed the chasm into a brand-new year and a new decade. The last decade brought with it much upheaval in healthcare and many advances as well.
The Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010, and just a few years later, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 was signed into law.
Those two pieces of legislation turned the entire healthcare industry on its head, fundamentally changing the way CMS pays hospitals for patient care, from fee-for-service to a value-based model.
Telemedicine, whose early beginnings date back to the 1950s and 60s, has only come into everyday use in the last few years.
More recently, artificial intelligence, remote monitoring, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), minimally-invasive surgeries, and a host of other technological innovations have equipped practitioners with entirely new ways to improve the quality of patient care.
Where will 2020 take us, and how should we respond to what lies ahead? Let these four "admonitions" guide your thinking individually and as an organization.
1. Don’t get stuck doing something just because that's the way it's always been done.
Someone said that the seven last words of any organization are: "We've never done it that way before."
Don't let that be the epitaph on your facility's tombstone. Instead, be open to new ideas, and think big, beyond the hospital walls to generate new revenue and increase the payor mix.
Embrace the use of telemedicine and telehospitalists, post-discharge care coordination, and wellness and prevention support in the community. Also, utilize direct to employer programs as a revenue growth strategy.
You will likely face resistance — laggards exist in every organization — but prove your case for why these initiatives will improve patient care, and forge ahead to the best of your ability.
2. Know all the buzz words and evaluate all your options — but don’t be a trend chaser.
AI. Machine learning. Remote monitoring. Apple Health integration. M&A opportunities. Social determinants. Diverse staffing models.
All these options (and more) are great, but you need a solid plan and strategy to decide what is imperative, what is a “nice to have,” and what won't work for your organization.
Regardless of the trends and innovations that you choose to incorporate, putting patient experience at the center of your plan is the most important thing you can do.
3. Stay true to who you’ve set out to be even through dramatic changes to the landscape around you.
Remember why your organization exists and build momentum out of that core energy. During times of radical change, it's the one thing you can rely on to stay grounded.
For SCP Health, that means building on four foundational core values: Agility, Courage, Collaboration, and Respect.
Our company has undergone several changes this year — new name, new logo, new tagline (all symbols of much more profound changes that represent a new identity) — but to quote our CEO, Rich D’Amaro, “[W]hat’s not changing is our deep, unrelenting commitment to clinical effectiveness and to the patients, providers, and partners who help us realize it — all day, every day.”
4. Leave it all out on the field every day.
You know that look on athletes’ faces when they pass the finish line, walk off the court after the final buzzer, or collapse on the field when the time finally runs out? The “I just gave everything” look. The “I did my absolute best” look. That’s what we need to succeed and perform with excellence in healthcare.
From the top-down, bottom-up, and all the space in between, be an example of caring so much about the people you work with and patients you treat that you leave the “field” every day knowing you gave all you could, did your best, and will come back tomorrow determined to be better.
Each new year holds a wealth of opportunity for healthcare organizations to build on all they have faced and learned over the past several years of upheaval and advancement.
In the rising tide of change, stay anchored to your values. Start thinking about how you can make bold advances that tie back to those values — but don’t get swept up in passing trends that would not work for your organization.
At the end of it all, no matter what your core values are or how you've chosen to innovate, do it to the best of your ability, knowing that the rewards of positive patient satisfaction and outcomes are worth every ounce of energy you and your staff spend in the process.