The crystal ball on this issue’s cover says it all: For the nation’s healthcare executives, 2023 is starting out with as much trepidation as anticipation.
At health systems, top-line growth is threatened by a variety of factors. Expense management is made more difficult by the higher wages needed to mitigate staffing shortages and hospitals are starting to put into place alternative, albeit less profitable, ways of delivering care. Health insurance companies could face trouble retaining members. And startups, particularly those in the digital health arena, may have fewer suitors.
We unpack some of those challenges in this issue as the industry’s decision-makers return from the holidays to figure out what else will demand their attention in this new year.
At Modern Healthcare, our newsroom is expanding its focus as well. Years ago, we cast a bright light on diversity, equity and inclusion: the shortcomings with existing strategies, the need to do better and which organizations were demonstrating real improvement rather than making promises.
This year we’ll dig deeper into environmental, social and governance issues.
By their very nature, healthcare organizations should be socially responsible if—and this shouldn’t really be an “if”—their ultimate goal is to keep people well by giving them the tools to stay healthy versus treating them when they get sick. But there’s still plenty of work to do, particularly when it comes to equitable access to care.
Taking responsibility for the environment is healthcare too. And let’s not forget corporate governance. Accountability starts at the top.
As investors ask more questions, some large healthcare organizations are citing progress on ESG initiatives in documents tied to their public market capital requests. At Modern Healthcare’s ESG summit this past October, the enthusiasm for doing better was keen. But like all initiatives involving entities that focus on a profit margin, it will boil down to dollars and cents.
We’ll delve into these issues this year, looking beyond promises to the real-world efforts taking shape across organizations—who’s leading the charge, how they’re identifying priorities and getting it done and then what’s next.
ESG, like DEI, is much more than an acronym. It’s a critical public health challenge that affects our future.