I recently finished Robin Farmanfarmaian’s The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer.
Robin describes a wonderful new world of healthcare, where the patient is the CEO of her own health. The model flips: “doctor, the patient will see you now” is the new paradigm.
As a healthcare finance professional, I wonder: if the patient is now the CEO, then what does that make the analyst?
Trends in healthcare point to a future where supplies and procedures don’t matter so much as information and relationships.
Inventory and scale issues are eliminated
Inpatient hospitals will never go away. But they are losing dominance in the delivery of healthcare.
The modern inpatient hospital is run on the factory business model. Scale and efficiency is key. Staff is needed on site at all times. Patients come to be “fixed” through major surgeries.
This has tremendous operating costs. Space, inventory, staff — like a factory, a hospital must survive on scale.
Economics now favor a lean, on-demand health care delivery.
The need to hold expensive supplies and equipment drops as 3-D printing and mobile apps emerge. What in the past only a big hospital had resources for can be deployed to the community.
Data and deployment are now the drivers
As healthcare delivery moves away from the factory model, people and deployment become the issue.
Imagine instead of making an expensive and time-consuming trip to the lab for a blood draw, you poke yourself with a small needle, the results of which could be sent to the doctor’s office from your phone.
Rather than getting your blood pressure at your worst — nervous and tired at the doctor’s office, sensors will allow for continuous monitoring of blood pressure.
Data analytics will become key to healthcare. The benefit is preventive medicine — noticing patterns from your blood pressure and other vitals, providers can treat you before catastrophe strikes.
Hand-in-hand with this move toward data-backed preventive medicine will be community deployment.
Predict the house-call to return, for example. With the goal to avoid catastrophic trips to the ER, providers will go where the patients are.
Notice the shift from a factory mindset (capital-intensive, scale-based hospitals) to the networked information mindset (data-backed, patient-facing community deployment). The smart analyst will put the focus on patient-friendly points of service and strengthened use of data for preventive medicine.
Competition or collaboration?
Between sensors, online communities, and the traditional doctor’s office, the number of parties involved in a patient’s healthcare will grow. The smart healthcare analyst will see this as collaboration, not competition.
In the past, switching healthcare providers was rare and a hassle. Generally, it meant you weren’t happy with your provider. You had to request medical records, schedule an appointment weeks in advance, situate insurance, etc. There were few intermediary resources.
This is very different today, and harder to say what is competition. What if you Google your condition? Or join a forum of other patients to get their take on treatment plans? Does that necessarily mean you are firing your doctor? Or are you collaborating with him?
When you can draw your own blood, you’re taking some roles away from the traditional hospital. But you’re not really competing with it. Really, you’re just shifting roles around. You’re becoming more active in your healthcare management.
In the past, an active patient often meant that something was wrong. Now, it will be normal procedure. Healthcare delivery will span across many platforms, not all of which are directly controlled by the hospital. They will all center around the patient.
The analyst as facilitator?
Delivery of healthcare changes with the patient as CEO. The analyst, instead of keeping the lights on at an expensive inpatient hospital, must now focus on patient experience.
How accessible are doctors? Are we deploying the latest technology to the community? Are we keeping in touch with patients via social media to promote preventive medicine?
Instead of fielding CEO requests, the new analyst must now facilitate the patient to be her own CEO.
Healthcare administrators and analysts — thoughts? Where do you see the field going in the “Patient as CEO” model?
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