“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” – Lee Iacocca
In our conversations with stakeholders – physicians, hospital and health system administrators, health plan executives, board members, and government officials – there is one constant theme: change and uncertainty are the new normal. Strategies and tactics that worked brilliantly in the past are failing. Compensation and governance structures that have served us well are obsolete and prevent us from implementing badly needed reforms.
There are many sources for this uncertainty including ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), political gridlock, a weakened economy, shifting demographics, and rapid technological advancements (e.g., electronic health records, telemedicine, big data predictive analytics).
Healthcare leaders’ reactions are varied:
In working with hundreds of healthcare organizations and carefully studying market trends, we have identified five fundamentals driving the transformation of our healthcare payment and delivery system:
To lead and succeed in such an environment, one must embrace creative, adaptable strategies. We see success with our clients that have adopted Lee Iacocca’s philosophy: first, experiment with pilot projects that make sense given our current understanding of the market; second, objectively monitor results in real time with a willingness to admit failure quickly and inexpensively; third, make midcourse corrections when results conflict with intended outcomes; and fourth, fully engage players from all levels of the organization in all stages of the project.
Taking that critical first step – embracing experimentation – requires one to understand how the five fundamental drivers, each in their own way, are transforming healthcare as we now know it. Then, by visualizing your organization’s future role, you can set and correct your course for constructive change.