Healthcare is transforming. Those who pay close attention to the industry can see interest in value-based arrangements growing, hear calls for price transparency getting louder, and feel the hurt of patients who are forgoing care either because they can’t afford it or because it is otherwise inaccessible to them.
Changing an industry that accounts for 18% of U.S. gross domestic product takes time, but that’s a commodity increasingly in short supply, as voters cited healthcare as their No. 1 concern in the 2018 midterm elections. External pressure on the industry to change will only increase as the 2020 elections get closer, so how can organizations of every size work to improve healthcare outcomes while reducing prices?
Simply put: The future of healthcare is collaboration. Without collaborative efforts, the industry will remain too fractured and adversarial to successfully transform itself to be patient-first and efficient.
As a not-for-profit organization located in Minnesota’s renowned healthcare cluster, Medical Alley Association’s membership includes leading companies from every sector of healthcare—device, digital health, payer, provider and pharmaceuticals—giving the association a unique ability to foster these critical conversations. Thanks to our members’ collaborative spirit, many are already in progress.
The association’s recent annual dinner featured executives from pillars of the healthcare community, large companies newly moving into the field, and economic experts all sharing a remarkably similar message: The days of healthcare’s various sectors all tilting at one another must come to an end for the good of patients and for the health of the industry as a whole.
Finding the right partners and moving boldly forward isn’t an idle belief within our community. Large companies, traditionally thought of as being the hardest to change, have found success partnering across traditional category silos to help patients manage chronic conditions like Type 1 diabetes. Sharing risk has led to extensive conversations about how to improve outcomes, provide more holistic patient care, and help create better lives for the patients themselves.
Smaller companies, too, are increasingly responsible for solving major challenges in healthcare. A major health system in Minnesota cut its no-show rate by 20% thanks to a pilot completed last summer with a company that had been founded in its own internal innovation lab. While there have traditionally been substantial barriers to entry for small companies in healthcare, payers and providers that are open to new ways of doing business are increasingly outpacing their competition, driving up patient satisfaction, and ensuring their own long-term viability all at the same time.
And those are just some of the ways collaboration is transforming healthcare in our home state of Minnesota. This year, we launched the Healthcare Transformation Initiative at Medical Alley, a time for leaders to gather and face healthcare’s future head-on, to find the right partners, and to learn from their peers across the industry. We believe that by giving small groups of leaders the space to talk face-to-face about the issues they see as critical to their business, we can dispense with the formalities that have often prevented meaningful partnerships from being formed.
Breaking down the barriers to collaborative healthcare, whether they be traditional boundaries, incompatible systems, the desire to silo information, or anything else inhibiting progress must be intentionally and purposefully deconstructed if healthcare is going to flourish. Innovation is happening at an exciting pace. Huge gains are being made across healthcare, particularly in spaces like personalized medicine, genomic analysis, and digital health, setting the stage for a golden age of global health.
However, if we choose instead to continually relitigate old conflicts, abide by old borders, and stick to old agreements instead of creating an integrated, patient-first strategy that helps people live longer, more vital lives, choices about the future of healthcare are increasingly going to be externally imposed rather than internally chosen.
Healthcare is transforming; let’s make sure we’re the ones directing its future.