The 8th Annual Becker’s Hospital Review brought together more than 2000 business and strategy leaders from around the country. The topic: “How to improve your hospital and its bottom line in these challenging but opportunity-filled times,” with the best minds in the field discussing Accountable Care Organizations, physician-hospital integration, patient access, quality measures, reimbursement, cost containment, opportunities / partnerships, and improving profitability.
So what can we learn about healthcare investing from those strategic discussions? Simply put, wherever advancements in healthcare are directed – whether diagnostics and cures from biotech and pharma, or delivery and infrastructure from providers and technology – therein are the greatest opportunities, especially with solutions in information technology and logistics that address the following:
Access – John Jay Shannon, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, presented data on the impact the ACA has had on access to healthcare and the challenges that come from providing services to a diverse population that includes pediatric, homeless, and prison patients. Companies to explore in this arena are those that improve patient access to care:
- Financially with insurances and healthcare coverage
- Geographically with transportation and proximity to providers and social agencies
Outcomes & Reimbursement – As healthcare transitions from Fee-for-service to Outcome-based Reimbursement, there is value in companies that can aid these initiatives:
- Appropriate utilization of diagnostics and healthcare
- Documentation, capture, and transmission of data related to quality measures (Electronic Health Records, Health Information Networks, data mining)
- Tools and solutions to aid physicians, executives, and insurance companies with this data (voice recognition, communication devices, transcription, data analytics)
Continuum of care – Delos M. Cosgrove, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Clinic described how his organization has grown locally and internationally, employing more than 50,000 people, as they improve patient experience and patient outcomes, by focusing on wellness and continued innovation. “Hospital” services evolving from traditional inpatient settings to more outpatient services will shift attention to population health:
- Expanded and/or inclusive services (durable medical equipment, integrated healthcare delivery, long-term care, chronic disease management)
- Prevention, wellness, and independent living (patient-centered homes, mobility devices, assisted-living homes)
Technology & Innovation – Lyle Berkowitz, MD, Chief Innovator at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, was one of the panelists for discussions on Artificial Intelligence Systems in Medicine, and Innovation and Information Technology. Advice from the panel: Simplify, Automate, and Delegate… using technology to guide innovation:
- Security and Interoperability of data that improves patient and provider access to information (pricing, coordination of benefits, patient portals, health information exchanges, longitudinal records for trending)
- Wireless devices that facilitate the capture and exchange of meaningful information (patient care documentation, wearables, telemedicine, remote monitoring)
- Faster response and analysis (AEDs for first responders, algorithms for EMTs and standardized protocols)
- Machine learning to facilitate assessment of data (including the million-plus papers, from over 4600 medical research journals, each year)
- Bioinformatics for handling and storing exponential data (from sequencing the 3 billion bases of DNA in the human genome) and analyzing it across demographics and medical histories for predictive analytics.
While healthcare is challenging, drastic changes can create great opportunities – so stay alert!
As a great Chicago legend once said,
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” –Ferris Bueller
(Matthew Broderick in John Hughes’ movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
And on that note, we would like to wish Dr. Toby Cosgrove best wishes on his “retirement.” He announced this week his plans to step down as President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic later this year, while remaining in an advisory role. Not least of his achievements, Dr. Cosgrove served as a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force, received the Bronze Star and the Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal, and holds several patents for medical products he developed as a cardiovascular surgeon for use in surgical environments. Outcome measures of his leadership at Cleveland Clinic include a #1 ranking by U.S. News & World Report for their heart program (10 years in a row, and for many successive years), Fortune’s “Best Workplaces in Health Care,” and a “World’s Most Ethical Company” by the Ethisphere Institute. It is our sincere desire that Dr. Cosgrove continues to serve on the current White House Strategic and Policy Forum.