Health Is Where You Are: Preparing for the ‘System of Health’
Sg2 spends a lot of time thinking about what the health system will look like in 5, 10 or 15 years. Core to any successful realization of the future is a foundation in innovation. But Innovation alone, without a tactical approach to get there, will have little impact. By incorporating technologies and leading practices with innovations from around the world, Sg2 aims to project a future vision of health care, with tangible steps to pave the path forward.
To help us shape our vision, Sg2 has collaborated with Healthbox, a company that partners with leading industry organizations and high-potential start-ups to solve health care’s biggest challenges. Through this effort, Sg2 clients will be exposed to early stage companies and innovative technologies that align with the changing health care landscape, including the “nonhospital of the future.” This will help give insight into questions such as, “How do we reframe today’s System of CARE around a consumer’s ‘System of Health’? How will care delivery change if focus shifts away from the acute care center?”
In the future, care will be centered on each consumer’s own personalized health journey—a journey that is driven by caregivers (both licensed and nonlicensed) and data (eg, real-time analytics, health assessments, health index). Coupled with the emergence of the retail health market, consumers will increasingly make active decisions based on price, benefits, services and convenience. Consumers will be determining how they interact with, and enter into, the future System of Health—a radical change that will affect how each hospital and health system develops its strategy and market position. For hospitals hoping to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant in this changing environment, it will be important to prepare for several major shifts in the health care landscape.
Care Shifts From Disease Based to Health Based Today, delivery of health care is structured across discrete interactions or episodes of care. Current care models include the concept of “admission” and “discharge,” implying that the patient enters and exits the health system. The ideology of the non-hospital of future is based upon a different premise: the patient remains within a “System of Health” and interacts with various aspects of the system depending on the individual’s care needs.
Mass customization, based upon the specific care needs of each patient, becomes ever more important in the future. Patients will increasingly have access to their personal health information and will select services tailored to their specific needs. Organizations that anticipate this shift in the health care business model will be primed to capture, retain and engage these new health care consumers.
Companies such as PatientConnector are developing these engagement models today. PatientConnecter, one of Healthbox’s portfolio companies, created an online, mobile-compliant platform that provides one central hub for all provider-patient communication. PatientConnecter allows organizations to follow the patient as he or she interacts not only with the system itself but also with other health resources to better understand conditions and concerns.
Identify What You Do Best; Outsource the Rest In the nonhospital of the future model, a hospital may no longer provide a vast array of services. Rather, organizations will focus on the services they do best (as defined by high quality/output, lower cost, demonstrated value and consumer engagement, among other metrics). For organizations that are able to successfully do so, this focus may evolve into a new revenue stream that they can sell to others across the industry. Think about a hospital or health system that has perfected a particular approach to care for patients or is organized around a specific service line. This will be a radical yet sustainable business model evolution, as services that can be performed better by a third party, or are not core to an organization’s mission, can be purchased as an external service or developed as a partnership.
We are initially seeing these transitions in clinical areas that are more consumer focused either because the lower-acuity services are easier to transition away from the hospital’s purview or because they often require the consumer to contribute toward the cost. Clinical areas such as dental, dermatology and ophthalmology have been the first to respond.
Healthbox’s portfolio company, Opternative, is developing the first eye exam that will deliver an accurate, valid prescription through any personal computer in less than 10 minutes. The company has developed a proprietary algorithm that simulates a traditional refractory exam where the patient looks through a machine containing lenses of varying strengths and reads from an eye chart. While the results of the exam are sent to an eye doctor in Opternative’s network for verification and a signed prescription, this technology disrupts an optometrist’s workflow that has basically remained the same for the past 50 years.
Health Is Where You Are The ubiquity of mobile technology is already having a significant impact on how individuals manage their health and wellness. Wearable devices allow continuous monitoring of personal vitals. Mobile phones can monitor sleep cycles. What if cars could monitor brain waves to ensure drivers aren’t falling asleep at the wheel? What if urgent care clinics are available on international flights?
These advancements will greatly change how, when and why we interact with health care and various “engagement points” across a System of Health. Our expected outcomes of such encounters will also evolve. For instance, virtual urgent care services will be expected to result in diagnosis and treatment, and self-tracking will contribute to our understanding of our personal health records and increase motivation.
As an example, 2 million Americans develop skin cancer every year, and while 38 days is the national average wait time for a dermatologist appointment, melanoma metastasizes in less than a month. 3derm, another Healthbox partner, has developed a system that allows dermatologists to review and monitor 3D mole images taken by the consumer at medical kiosks, other referral sites or at home, while reserving in-office appointment times for those patients whose images indicate a more alarming condition.
It is clear that the health care landscape is radically changing. While the concept of a “nonhospital” in the future isn’t yet realized, organizations that embrace these trends will proactively implement the strategies and tactics to ensure they are able to solidify their relevance in 5, 10 and 15 years.
Note: Sg2 Consultant Allison Hebron contributed to this post.