A few weeks ago I attended the 9th Annual Becker’s Health Review conference in Chicago. It was well attended and featured many of the leading healthcare executives in the industry. There were many sessions packed with a lot of content. When I attend meetings like this, I tend to look for relevant themes to take back home for further dissection. I took away three central themes:
- Disruption will change the healthcare market but we will be driven by the consumer and not the provider.
- Payment innovation and exploration is a must in the healthcare sector but there is not a one size fits all approach.
- Workforce engagement is a must as the healthcare industry evolves and we should take some of our cues from the technology sector.
Now this conference was definitely geared towards hospitals, but the themes definitely apply to the EMS industry. Our industry is also at a fork in the road and many are trying to figure out which path is best. The life sustaining, pre-hospital services we provide in our communities is critical even though we may only make up a fraction of the overall healthcare spend. Our industry is beginning to innovate and look at ways that we bring value to the overall healthcare reformation while maintaining a sustaining revenue model.
Innovation is great when it produces a desired result. However, innovating for the sake of innovation can be detrimental, especially in the reimbursement infrastructure for emergency medical services. This was also discussed at length at this conference. The CEOs from various hospital systems always prefaced that the payment innovation that their system was exploring always had to have benchmarks that not only included patient outcomes, but also employee outcomes. Employee engagement was one of the main sticking points for some large hospital systems to overcome to ensure patient outcomes. Kaiser Health System’s CEO indicated that they are now investing 25% of their annual operating budgets into technology. This is assisting in patient and employee engagement and helping to reduce costs while increasing profitability.
It was clear that most CEOs were exploring innovation as it relates to their communities. None of them were advocating that their model was “THE” model, but that it was important for health systems to become more than just a hospital. They must become a community partner that provides not only healthcare but also social and mental healing.
As our industry continues to explore and innovate who we are and what we provide, connect with your community. The community or consumer, if you listen closely, will begin to tell you what they need. Begin partnering with payers, hospitals, physicians, technology companies, financial institutions and other “unlikely healthcare” partners. You will be surprised at the solutions and the revenue streams that will begin to open up.