Earlier this week we were fortunate to host some of the country’s pre-eminent thought leaders at what was our sixth Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium (ATLAS). This year’s theme was “Expanding Boundaries. Removing Barriers.” “Expanding Boundaries” let us explore inspiring ways health system leaders are innovating around patient access and responding to industry dynamics, which increasingly point to a shift in care delivery outside of the walls of health systems.
However, these types of changes don’t happen overnight and without “a village” of contributors, so we coupled that part of the theme with “Removing Barriers.” Through presentations and discussions, the latter focus enabled attendees to learn and share best practices around what it takes to turn ideas into action, and ultimately, measurable results.
While the list could go on and on, we’ve picked our top six takeaways below:
- Today’s healthcare consumers are increasingly engaged and their expectations for on-demand access are only rising. Presenter Jeff Gourdji, co-author of “Making the Healthcare Shift: The Transformation to Consumer-Centricity ” explained that healthcare has followed a spectrum in which “patients” became “e-patients” and then “e-consumers.” The “e-” represents consumers being increasingly empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled. They not only put more scrutiny into where they receive care, but also expect it to be convenient and timely.
- Care is increasingly going to happen outside of a health system’s walls. Expectations around convenience and access to care are constantly rising; consumers want care on their terms. This is translating to health systems expanding their care offerings around not only new physical sites like retail and urgent care clinics, but also virtual options. Dr. Nevin, CEO of Christiana Care Health System, spoke about her organization’s efforts to deliver “radical convenience” through virtual care and other innovations.
- Social determinants of health are playing a growing role in how health systems think about care for their communities. As Kate Walsh, CEO of Boston Medical Center (BMC), so eloquently put it, “sometimes the most important thing we can do for the patient might not be within the health system.” BMC has built new programs that seek to address the care needs of patients holistically, accounting for critical healthcare factors like housing and transportation. Presenters throughout the event also emphasized the importance of addressing mental health in patient care and wellness.
- A culture of collaboration is key to health system strategy. Keynote speaker Toby Cosgrove, MD, former President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, stressed the importance of creating a collaborative environment, stating that “healthcare really is a team sport.” He shared how all Cleveland Clinic employees—not just doctors and nurses—are treated as a critical part of the patient’s care team and called “caregivers” to emphasize how everyone has a role to play in the patient experience.
- Encourage and reward risk taking. Edmondo Robinson, MD, Chief Transformation Officer at Christiana Care, reminded everyone that, “if what you’re doing has no chance of failing, you’re not innovating.” To help encourage innovation, health systems need to create a safe space for employees to take risks. At Christiana Care, this comes in the form of an annual awards ceremony that celebrates a “Best Learning Through Failure” award.
- View your colleagues as potential champions, not roadblocks. A panel of IT leaders admitted that transformation is less about technology, and more about people. Their tactical advice for engaging stakeholders: establish key metrics, articulate the value, and be persistent with your communication. However, speakers throughout the event advised that it’s not necessary to undergo transformation in one fell swoop – as Harvard professor David Shore put it, “bite size is the right size” when it comes to change management.
Missed ATLAS 2019? Save the Date for ATLAS 2020 in Boston, MA October 19-20th, 2020!