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The 3 Must-Have New Year's Resolutions for Healthcare

Originally published by Jonathan Bush on LinkedIn: The 3 Must-Have New Year's Resolutions for Healthcare

And so, this wild year comes to a close.

Healthcare in 2017 saw its fair share of rollercoaster twists. Between uncertainty around federal regulations, big M&A headlines, national disasters and public crises weighing heavy on the shoulders of providers—the landscape of healthcare seems to have yet again fundamentally shifted. And though the after-effects will be long-lasting and left to unfold in the months to come, we are already at the door’s edge of challenges to address and opportunities to harness.

As we head in 2018, here are the three things on my—and, hopefully, on the industry’s—to-do list:

Adopt a new growth mindset

Healthcare organizations must be prepared to be flexible and able to react to the continued uncertainty we all know is imminent in 2018. Traditional models of care are undergoing dramatic change, and market segments across the board need to ensure they’re effectively mapping against the new dynamics. With the individual mandate, for example, we’ll likely see a decrease in patient volume across organizations of all sizes; this should prompt them to get more creative in the ways they attract and retain patients.

Also, pressure will (and should) intensify when it comes to healthcare’s capital expenditures and investment strategies, particularly in light of tax reform—but I also believe a general embrace of simple economic principals such as “return on investment” and “total cost of ownership” will become a more regular part of the conversation. My sense is that technology investments in particular should be examined more closely. The saying “no margin, no mission” comes to mind—organizations of all sizes can only do their very best when their operational and financial health is in check.

Tackle interoperability

In my experience, interoperability is a long word that means a very simple thing: Making health information accessible, actionable, and actually understandable. We continue to talk about it in vast abstracts—number of documents exchanged, connections built, systems talking—rather than focusing on the value forged. So what if your hospital can talk to another hospital? What’s more important is: What are they saying to each other—are they getting the information they need? Are they improving outcomes and freeing up providers from the time suck of data entry? Are they transforming the way care is being delivered? After all, information is only as good as it is usable.

Let’s invest in technology that will not only best connect us—but that pushes the boundaries of what information-enabled, collaborative healthcare can be.

Go all in on AI—in the right way

I think we’ll see technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning begin to show real, tangible impact versus driving aspirational conversations. We need to collectively think about not just tackling healthcare’s “moonshots,” but automating our most time-consuming, expensive, and burdensome administrative work. It’s critical that we pull in AI to help us remove the friction that is cluttering doctors’ and care staff’s days. We can dream big, but we’ll only get there by starting small first.

It’s also just as important for these innovative technologies to exist out in the open. Not enough good comes from awesome work happening in the pockets of siloed organizations. We—our technology, our workflows, our updates—need to be lifting providers and staff from their desks and enabling them connect more deeply, more regularly, and more universally with the patients they care for. And we need to be scaling that work at a national level, employing automation where it makes sense, and creating space where human moments and intervention are necessary.

Together, I envision 2018 being the year that we’ve got our eyes keen bringing humanity back to the moment of care: by freeing up doctors from the work that’s bogging them down, and by reducing the friction—opposing systems, ill-fit processes, and knowledge gaps—that plagues our industry.

What are you looking forward to tackling in 2018?